The Dangers of Radioactive Concrete


This week, an entire condo building in metro Atlanta was discovered to have been built with radioactive concrete. Radon inspectors found the hazardous gas emanating from the building materials in concerning amounts.

Radon is an odorless, invisible, radioactive gas that claims more than 20,000 lives per year. It is also the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Typically, the source of radon is traced to soil beneath the home. However, it is important to note that concrete is made from crushed rock, which can sometimes contain radon.

After a bit of testing, Matt Koch of Southern Radon Reduction determined that the radioactive gas “was indeed coming from the materials inside the foundation.” In other words, the concrete itself became radioactive and was giving off much more radiation than expected.

How Much Is Too Much?

How much is too much?

According to Koch, “Your entire life, you’re accumulating a dose exposure.” Of course, casual exposure to radiation is not a problem, but above average levels of radon lead to radiation poisoning. The EPA recommends that homes have radon levels below four pico-curies per liter, which is about 10 times the amount that occurs outdoors.

With these figures in mind, Koch’s radon testing of the Atlanta complex returned some startling results—the measuring device showed a reading of 578 pico-curies of the radioactive gas. “That’s more than a thousand times the amount of radon you would find outside,” Koch said. Clearly, the radon levels were far too high to dismiss.

What Is Radon Testing?

Reading this article might have you worried. The only way to know if you are safe from radioactive concrete is to conduct radon testing. If you suspect elevated levels of radon in your home, you can purchase retail tests from home improvement stores. In addition, most real estate inspectors can perform the test, and many states have their own remediation programs. For a list of approved radon remediation companies, check out this directory from The National Radon Proficiency Program.

Have you ever had any experiences with radon? If you’d like to discuss this article or anything else related to concrete, please contact our team at Del Zotto Products. You can also connect with us on any of our social channels.