Radon is a gas that no human sense can detect. It is dangerous as it is unstable and radioactive. As we breath it in, radon will emit alpha particle radiation and precipitate as solid radioactive metals within our lungs.
Radon emits alpha particle radiation, which, as it has mass, is very different to the more commonly known (and less dangerous) x-ray radiation that is made up of photons (light). For a given dose, alpha particle radiation deposits much more energy per unit of distance (what is called higher ‘linear energy transfer’) compared to x-rays, making it more hazardous.
Radon has a half-life of 3.8 days, meaning that, in that period of time, 50% of a given amount of radon will have emitted an alpha particle and transformed into the next element in the chain of radioactive decay -in this case, solid radioactive polonium-210.
Radon was discovered in the late 1800’s by Canadian scientists Harriet Brooks and Ernst Rutherford at McGill University. Its ability to cause cancer was discovered in the 1950-1970’s in Canadian uranium miners. Very high residential radon was 1st discovered in the 1980’s.
What the science says:
In his 1904 book Radioactivity, Rutherford described the first experiments showing that radon –which he had called the ‘radium emanation’ –arose from the earth and accumulated in caves and cellars with undisturbed air.
Reference: Rutherford, E. Radioactivity of the Atmosphere and Ordinary Materials. Radioactivity. Cambridge University Press. 1904, Chapter 11, Section 212, pages 357-362.
The alpha particle radiation emitted by radon damages DNA in such a way that it is very difficult (impossible) for our cells to heal without causing genetic mutations. There is no dose of particle radiation that does not cause DNA damage.
Four alpha particles are emitted for every radon atom that decays in our lungs. The first three are emitted quickly, as the radon transforms into longer-lived radioactive lead (210Pb).
As alpha particles pass through lung cells, they cause serious DNA damage – the key ‘instructions’ for life that controls health. This damage is almost always clustered together in a very small space and also contains many different complex damage types.
Our cells can repair DNA damage and, most of the time, this is quick and accurate meaning few genetic mutations arise. However, our cells are not good at repairing alpha particle-induced DNA damage quickly or accurately. As a result of this, and unlike the more simple DNA damage from other types of radiation (such as x-rays), there is functionally no dose of particle radiation that is “safe” in terms of ‘consequence (mutation)-free’ DNA damage induction and repair.
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Thank you for your interest in Evict Radon. Evict Radon test kits will be available in October 2019. Please enter your email and we will notify you when kits are available for purchase.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR PARTICIPATION IN THIS RESEARCH:
Extensive research indicates that radon testing is most accurate during the winter months. Because of this, we only accept research participants and sell Evict Radon test kits from October – February 29th. If you wish to join our 2019/2020 Evict Radon research study, please enter your email below to be added to our waitlist. We will contact you when kits become available for purchase in October 2019.
Thank you for your interest in the Evict Radon research awareness and testing study. Before consenting to participate, we ask you please read and be aware of the study terms and conditions. It is very important that you understand this information, and that this is a citizen science-based study that requires you to purchase a specific radon testing kit (at cost) via our project. We thank you in advance for your time.
Included in an Evict Radon test kit
For $53.99 (+ shipping), you’ll receive everything needed to ensure your radon test result is as accurate as possible.
Radtrak3 – long term radon test
Placement and Registration Instructions
A pre-paid return shipping envelope to the lab for analysis
Laboratory analysis fees
Report at the end of the analysis
If at any point you wish to withdraw from our study or have any concerns about the nature of this research study, please contact [email protected] If you have any questions concerning your rights as a possible participant in this research, please contact the Chair of the Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board, Research Services, University of Calgary. The University of Calgary Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board has approved this research study. Study Ethics ID = REB19-1522
BY ENTERING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS, YOU CONSENT TO JOIN THIS STUDY AND WILL BE DIRECTED TO THE SECURE WEBSTORE WHERE YOU CAN PURCHASE YOUR KIT.
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