Is Radon a Problem in South Florida?
Updated: Jul 21, 2022
Radon emanating from common building materials, chief among them concrete, remains a large problem for the state of Florida.
Up until recently, it was believed that there were only two common ways radon entered the home. First was naturally occurring radon deposits in the ground underneath the home. The negative pressure in a home would act like a vacuum and pull radon-laden air into the home. The second method of radon entry is radon impacted groundwater. Similarly, groundwater would come into contact with naturally occurring radon in the ground. In closed wells, the radon would not be able to escape into the air until it was brought into the home through common household activities like washing dishes, showering, drinking tap water, etc.
Both of these mechanisms are very dependent on the geologic location of the home/building structure. High levels of these types of sources are primarily found in areas of the country where high uranium ground sources exist such as the northeast – NY state and Pennsylvania, and the southwest US.
In the low ground source areas such as Florida, it was generally assumed that radon was not a major concern and not one that would warrant mandatory testing associated with real estate transactions, etc. However, it turns out this is not the case.
Radon in Florida
Today we are finding highly elevated radon levels in many Florida concrete building structures. Test results clearly show that the radon comes from the building materials and specifically from the poured concrete. The concrete commonly used in these Florida buildings contains upwards of 65% mined limestone aggregate which contains elevated levels of uranium and radium.
Permanently inside the building structure, the radium is naturally decaying and continuously releasing radioactive radon gas into the ambient air. The large exposed surface area of concrete within the buildings is the mechanism by which tenants and owners are being exposed to the radioactive gas at levels well above the EPA guideline.
Additionally, the rise of building practices intent on providing a more energy efficient and stormproof environment has reduced the exchange of indoor and outdoor air resulting in very low ventilation. These tighter building practices and code requirements contribute to the trapping of indoor radon which is leading to continuous and long-term tenant and occupant exposures.
The problem is most significant in condominiums, apartments, and high-rise structures where large volumes of formed-in-place concrete are used and where large concrete surface areas are present in close proximity to building occupants living in the individual units.
EnviroHome specializes in mitigating radon emanating from building materials. This mitigation process can be completed quickly and economically. Our team will first verify radon levels in the building through radon testing. During this phase, our engineers will analyze the building structure, presence and location of heating or cooling systems, and presence of additional indoor air quality issues to ensure that a proper mitigation system is designed to specifically address the building’s issue.
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