Radon gas in soil

Maryolsen's picture

Hello everyone,


I'm  brand new to this forum and a beginner gardener (meaning I've never really had the time to devote to it until now) so I appreciate any and all advice.  We're looking at a parcel of land to build our new house on and the area is know to high in radon gas.  We'll be putting a radon ventilation system into the house but my question is:  since radon gas is a carcinogen and found in the soil, can it or how does it effect a vegetable garden and what if anything can or should be done.


Thanks for all comments,


Mary 

jeana's picture

(post #11050, reply #1 of 27)

Radon isn't uncommon. It's only a problem when it builds up in our homes. That's why you're still allowed to build on the site with the proper ventilation. Out in the open, it escapes in very small amounts into the atmosphere. Think of it like carbon dioxide. It's deadly in high concentrations, mostly a problem only near volcanos. It's around us all the time, but in small amounts. If radon "pooled," it'd be a problem. But it wants to go elsewhere. Homes prevent it from dispersing.

Jeana

Never try to baptize a cat.


Edited 9/29/2009 6:40 pm by Jeana

Jeana Never try to baptize a cat.
Maryolsen's picture

(post #11050, reply #2 of 27)

Hi Jeana,


Thanks for your reply.  I guess my concern is more the soil rather than the air since radon originates in the soil.  I know that it seeps out eventually, but what about growing food in soil that has large concentrations of radon? 


Thanks again,


Mary

Catskill Deb's picture

(post #11050, reply #3 of 27)

I would never have thought to worry about this, but it's a good question.  I just found a site called Health Physics Society, where someone in Maine with high levels of radon in their well water asked if it was safe to use the water to irrigate a vegetable garden.  The answer was yes.  Here's the link so you can check out the details:
http://www.hps.org/publicinformation/ate/q6477.html

jeana's picture

(post #11050, reply #4 of 27)

I was just reading the other day that the huge increase in granite counter tops has led to concerns of radon in homes. Seems that some homes have been found to have radon levels above dangerous after getting granite tops. So now, the industry is "considering" testing granite as it's used for radon emission. MOST granite is safe, some gives off radon in safe limits, and some gives off way too much. Food for thought before redoing one's kitchen. The industry recommends testing the home periodically for radon after getting granite tops. If it were me, I'd want it tested BEFORE I put it in my home.

Jeana

Never try to baptize a cat.

Jeana Never try to baptize a cat.
Catskill Deb's picture

(post #11050, reply #5 of 27)

You've given me an interesting reason why we don't have granite countertops.  Instead of just "they cost too much."

jeana's picture

(post #11050, reply #7 of 27)

There are several sites on it, this isn't the one I read before, but it confirms what I read. And yes, the cost is a good enough reason for me.
http://greenbuildingelements.com/2008/05/14/fight-over-radon-in-granite-countertops-heats-up/

Jeana

Never try to baptize a cat.

Jeana Never try to baptize a cat.
Catskill Deb's picture

(post #11050, reply #8 of 27)

I think we should start a blog or database for cheapskates everywhere, containing economizations disguised as concern for the environment or health or something similar.  Could be useful for families with spendthrift children (or spouses).  I don't have granite countertops because of the risk of radon.  I don't subscribe to Gardens Illustrated because I'm trying to reduce my use of paper to save forests.  We don't have a big screen TV because we're waiting for the EnergyStar model.  We don't (shouldn't) subscribe to the NFL Football channel, because ... <still working on that one>

jeana's picture

(post #11050, reply #9 of 27)

I recycle potting soil because it's good for the environment. I'm not getting a new car till they offer all electric ones. Cleaning products can cause health problems, so I try not to use them. I try really hard not to.

Jeana

Never try to baptize a cat.

Jeana Never try to baptize a cat.
Karen's picture

(post #11050, reply #13 of 27)

Just keep up that attitude when you see my house, esp given that I've hardly been here for a month ....

North Carolina - zone 7

North Carolina - zone 7

jeana's picture

(post #11050, reply #14 of 27)

You have kids and dogs. We speak the same language.

Jeana

Never try to baptize a cat.

Jeana Never try to baptize a cat.
1946's picture

(post #11050, reply #15 of 27)

You have to "try" not to use cleaning products? It just comes very naturally to me. A plaque in my kitchen reads "this house is protected by killer dust bunnies". It must be working, as the coyotes are completely staying out of my house. Those bunnies mean business.

the country gardener's picture

(post #11050, reply #17 of 27)

Is that what keeps them at bay? I've had a pack in every night trying to watch Rin-TinTin reruns. And they're not even on any more!

Marty


"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

Marty

"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

jeana's picture

(post #11050, reply #22 of 27)

You may be one to something. I thought I didn't vacuum often because I was trying to save electricity. But I don't want coyotes inside either. Coincidence? Hmmm...

Jeana

Never try to baptize a cat.

Jeana Never try to baptize a cat.
Dagwood's picture

(post #11050, reply #23 of 27)

If you think Radon is a killer, you've never seen Lycra-Spandex on the wrong body.


Who invented that stuff anyway?


Dagwood Bumstead


If it can die, I can kill it.
Certified Brown Thumb, 4th degree

If it can die, I can kill it.
Certified Brown Thumb, 4th degree

jeana's picture

(post #11050, reply #24 of 27)

<<Who invented that stuff anyway?>>

Uh, the 80's?

Jeana

Never try to baptize a cat.

Jeana Never try to baptize a cat.
1946's picture

(post #11050, reply #25 of 27)

About time you showed up again! And lycra/spandex was invented by the undergarment industry to torture females. Unfortunately someone in their infinite wisdom decided to move it to outer garments. Ugh.


Edited 10/3/2009 10:01 am ET by 1946

the country gardener's picture

(post #11050, reply #10 of 27)

"We don't (shouldn't) subscribe to the NFL football channel because..." it's only available on satellite and satellite beams cause brain cancer.

Marty


"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

Marty

"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

Catskill Deb's picture

(post #11050, reply #11 of 27)

A for effort.  But we'd be in trouble if we got rid of satellite, since that's the only way to get a TV signal here and the only decent way to connect to the internet.  I don't watch much TV but I think DH would move out without it.  :-/

the country gardener's picture

(post #11050, reply #12 of 27)

Okay, just be sure to wear aluminum foil while you're watching it.

Marty


"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

Marty

"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

1946's picture

(post #11050, reply #16 of 27)

Let me put you in touch with my weird relatives-in-law, who will sell you a system to protect you from the radiation that leaks out of your electrical appliances! I kid you not. Two quotes come to mind: A fool and his money...... and there's a sucker born.......But then you can get the satellite TV and be safe.

the country gardener's picture

(post #11050, reply #18 of 27)

Thanks, but a guy at the country fair sold me this stuff that works real good. I haven't been taken by aliens ever since, so it works for more than just leaky electricity!

Marty


"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

Marty

"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

Catskill Deb's picture

(post #11050, reply #19 of 27)

Good lord, what have I started?

1946's picture

(post #11050, reply #20 of 27)

You've tapped our inner goofiness? And I need a smile this morning-we had a killer frost last night that took out way more stuff than I thought it would, even up against the back of the house, which is usually safe.

the country gardener's picture

(post #11050, reply #21 of 27)

Yup, inner goofiness pretty well sums it up for me too. Won't happen again.....hmmmm.

Marty


"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

Marty

"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

mooselady's picture

(post #11050, reply #26 of 27)

Man, this conversation is getting too wild for me!!!!


(But I do like the idea about the granite tops "oh mercy no, I would never consider granite tops! Aren't you AWARE OF THE DANGER!!!"    LOL

1946's picture

(post #11050, reply #27 of 27)

Yes, I can't wait to drop that one on someone!

Maryolsen's picture

(post #11050, reply #6 of 27)

Interesting.  Thanks so much for the link.