What is Radon – Nashville, Tennessee

What is Radon – Nashville

Radon is a naturally occurring chemical element found in the environment. At the normal range of the Earth’s temperatures, radon is in a gaseous form that cannot be seen, tasted or smelled. Most homes have some level of radon gas in them, not just in Nashville, Tennessee, but also throughout the world.

How Radon is Measured

Nashville RadonA unit of measurement called picoCuries per liter is used for describing radon levels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes guidelines for safe levels of radon in Nashville and throughout the rest of the United States. As long as radon gas levels remain equal to or less than 4.0 picoCuries per liter, the EPA usually does not recommend taking any action. At higher levels, radon has the potential to cause health problems and needs to be mitigated to ensure that your home is safe.

Radon Throughout Tennessee

In cities throughout Tennessee, including Nashville, it is not uncommon to find elevated levels of radon gas due to large deposits of uranium in the soil. Uranium contains radium, the primary source of radon in the environment. As radium breaks down in the soil, houses in Nashville become filled with the emitted radon gas.

Radon gas can enter homes in Nashville through a variety of means. Cracks in concrete slabs and blocks and spaces between laid brick can allow radon to seep into living spaces. Open sumps and crawlspaces and loose pipe fittings can also allow radon gas to leak into houses in the Nashville area, leading to decreased air quality.

Nashville a “High Radon Potential Zone”

Nashville and the surrounding areas in Davidson County lie in an area that the EPA has deemed a “High Radon Potential Zone.” A private radon gas monitoring company tested radon levels throughout Tennessee to identify places where residents should particularly be concerned about radon. The company concluded that 40 percent of homes in Nashville and surrounding Davidson County had radon gas levels above the EPA’s recommended action level and that radon levels in the area averaged 5.6 picoCuries per liter.

Health Concerns

Breathing in air contaminated with elevated levels of radon gas can cause permanent damage to the lungs. Among nonsmokers, radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer throughout Nashville and the rest of the United States, cautions the EPA. Radon is also the second leading cause of lung cancer in smokers. Nashville residents at a high risk for lung cancer due to other health problems or their family histories are particularly susceptible to the effects of radon gas.

Health problems from exposure to excessive levels of radon gas do not happen overnight. Homeowners in Nashville can purchase kits to test the air quality in their own homes at hardware stores and home improvement centers. Nashville residents can also order EPA-certified radon gas testing kits by calling the National Radon Program Services hotline. Using one of these tests is the first step toward mitigating the amount of radon gas in your home.