According to an inspection report, an entire Condo Tower in Metro Atlanta was built with radioactive concrete. It is a relatively new phenomenon where radon inspectors and remediation companies are finding the gas emanating not just from the soil but also from building materials. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that Radon is an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas that claims more than 20,000 lives a year. As radioactive particles decay in the lungs, they can cause lung cancer. The EPA estimates 7,000 of the people who die from radon-induced lung cancer are non-smokers. It is considered the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Hence, living in a home with elevated levels of radon for years can be deadly. The source of radon is almost always traced to the soil beneath a home. Radon is gas comes from radium ore, which is produced by the decay of natural uranium in the ground. North Georgia is considered a hot spot for radon, and experts say about one in five Metro Atlanta homes has radon levels above the EPA action level.
The EPA recommends that homes have radon levels below four pico-curies per liter – about 10 times the amount naturally in the outdoor air. Concrete is made using crushed rock, and that is usually obtained from local quarries, rather than those far from a construction site. As a result, concrete used to build Metro Atlanta homes contains some of the same radioactive rock that produces radon in the soil. As the Condos were very tight, and very energy efficient, with the modern construction methods and building codes designed for energy efficiency, radon couldn’t get out. The National Radon Proficiency program offers a directory of approved radon remediation companies. According to the Atlanta radon expert, Matt Koch, Southern Radon Reduction, a company offering radon reduction and abatement services, is experimenting with several techniques for sealing concrete, including specialized laminate plastics and epoxy paints.