Radon is a radioactive, natural gas that is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. It is formed in rocks and soil when small amounts of uranium begin to decay. Owing to heat and air pressure, it rises up into the air as particles. It has 136 neutrons.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the element radon, and its neutrons.
A Breakdown of Radon
Radon is one of the most common radioactive gasses because it can be found in soil and rock all over the planet. It is otherwise known as radioactive decay, and it stems from radium.
Radon is a type of noble gas that is formed in soil when radium begins to decay.
Some landscapes are more prone to radon particles in the air, and those living in homes where radon levels are on the higher end of the scale have to be mindful of regular testing and therefore take various measures to control the exposure to ensure it doesn’t put their health at risk.
Radon on the Periodic Table
Basic Information About Radon
What are Neutrons?
A neutron is a type of particle found in the nucleus of every atom, with the exception of simple hydrogen.
A neutron has no electrical charge, so it is considered ‘neutral’ - hence the name. It differs from a proton because it has a greater mass and is denser.
Is Radon Dangerous?
Radon is a radioactive gas, which, in large doses, can be extremely harmful (and sometimes fatal) to humans.
Radon is fine in small doses. Because it is found in both rock and soil, which makes up inhabitable human land, there’s no way to avoid it entirely.
However, when radon levels become too high, they can cause damage to our lungs that may eventually result in lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Radon Levels - When Should We Be Concerned?
Radon is measured differently depending on where in the world you live, meaning danger levels depending on what country you’re in.
If so, you may need to conduct more regular household tests to ensure your safety.
How are We Exposed to Radon?
As radon is a radioactive gas that is emitted from rock and soil, it rises up into our homes and workplaces, and we breathe it in without realizing it.
Once the decomposed molecules of radon enter our lungs, they continue to decay, which further releases more radiation, which is now directly in our systems.
However, to be clear, while most of us breathe radon every day, this doesn’t necessarily mean we are in harm’s way. This is the importance of testing.
How to Test for Radon
The good news is testing for radon in your property is easy and inexpensive.
You can either hire a professional company to do this for you (which will be the more costly option of the two) or purchase a short-term or long-term DIY test kit and test your home yourself.
Short-Term Radon Test Kit
Short-term radon test kits are designed for those who would like to check the radon levels in their space quickly.
Please note, however, the minimum amount of time a short-term radon test kit can be performed is 2-10 days, depending on the radon detector you use. If your home or workplace has a basement, the best place to put your radon detector is in the crawl space above your basement.
Long-Term Radon Test Kit
A long-term, DIY radon test kit will need to be performed for 90 days or longer. This is a useful option because radon levels fluctuate all the time, so a longer test period will allow you to monitor those fluctuations better.
As with the short-term test kit, the best place to put the detector is in the crawl space above your basement.
If you don’t have a basement, however, the ground floor is a good choice. For those in high-story apartment blocks, you can opt to place the detector in your kitchen, bedroom, or living room. This way, you will be able to see if the radon levels are reaching you.
Both the short-term and long-term test kits are environmentally-friendly, deployed all over the world, and the results are analyzed by a highly-accredited lab. There are no hidden fees, and the turnaround time for results is much quicker than that of store-bought DIY radon tests.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I keep myself safe from radon?
Non-smokers are in a better position to radon exposure than smokers, as their lungs are less damaged, so not smoking is a good place to start.
If you live in high-radon areas, you can install a radon mitigation system in your home to regulate the levels in your home. Keeping your space well-ventilated is also a good way to lessen your exposure.
How does radon enter my home?
Radon enters through openings in the floor, such as cracks, gaps around pipes, floor drains, wall cavities, and so on, and rises upwards. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, so while we may not know it is there, we may still be breathing it in.
What is the science behind radon?
Radon is one of the chemical elements with the "Rn" symbol. It is arguably the most common chemical element because its decay chain occurs within soil.
There are 37 stable isotopes, and it belongs to the radium and uranium decay chain. Some professionals may refer to radon gas as alpha decay, which is a type of radioactive decay that involves an atomic nucleus which emits alpha particles, otherwise known as helium nucleus.
The most stable isotope of radon gas is 222Rn, which has a half life of 3.832 days. It is a zero valence noble gas, and despite being a radioactive gas, it isn't very chemically reactive.