Radon is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally. It is produced when uranium is broken down and most radon-related deaths are due to radon gas that accumulated in homes when it seeped through cracks in the foundation. Breathing in high levels of radon results in over 20,000 deaths each year and is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Those that choose to have their homes tested and find dangerous levels can have a radon abatement system installed in order to remove the danger from the air.
Additionally, up to 1,800 deaths each year are attributed to radon found in the water. This is because high levels of radon can be found in the groundwater that flows through granite or granitic sand and gravel formations. This is true even if you have a private well. However, drinking contaminated water is not the issue. When you use water with high radon levels for showering, washing clothes, and dishes, the radon gas is released into the air and you end up breathing it in.
Only between one and two percent of radon in the air comes from drinking water. However, it attributes to the increased risk of lung cancer over the course of a lifetime. This is especially true if your home already has a dangerous amount of radon. Radon in the water is another reason why testing for the gas and having a radon mitigation system installed is so important.
Moreover, radon that stays in water increases the risk of the development of cancer of the internal organ, primarily stomach cancer. While the risk is less than that of developing lung cancer, if you think there is a problem and your drinking water comes from a private well, you should contact your state in order to ask for a list of laboratories that will perform tests on drinking water in your area. Bear in mind that radon is only a concern if your drinking water comes from underground. Moreover, not all water from underground sources contains radon.
The type of radon remediation system that is installed in your home is based on the type of foundation it has and there are two methods that are used to remove it from water, aeration, and GAC. Aeration treatment is done through the spraying of the water and having it mix with the air. The air is then vented from the water before it is used.
GAC, or granular activated carbon treatment, involves filtering the water so that the radon attaches to the carbon and leaves the water. However, the carbon may require special handling. This is especially true if it is used to combat a high radon level or if it is used for a long period of time.
Whichever one you choose, be sure that the water is treated where it enters your home. This makes it so that all of the water is treated. It is also important that you maintain the treatment units because if you do not, you can end up with other water contamination issues. It is also important to have your well water tested at least once a year, in order to make sure the problem is under control.