Granite, Radon Gas

Sitona

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So my tortoise's enclosure sits directly on a big slab of granite, which normally emits a tiny amount of radioactive radon gas. Generally this should not be a problem for the normal household as good ventilation can deal with it, and people don't sit on granite all day. However, because I need to keep my tortoise enclosure humid I limit the air flow into and out of the enclosure, which makes me worry that a lot of radon gas could be trapped inside. He also spends a lot of time in his enclosure so if there is radon gas inside he would be constantly exposed to it.

It isn't just this slab of granite he is sitting on either, granite is a popular building material here so there is quite a lot of granite in my building. Also, geologically speaking, my entire city is sitting on a massive piece of granite which just spews radon. Again, good ventilation is enough to keep them at safe levels, but in this case idk how properly balance between humidity and not having him breathe radioactive gas 24/7.

Is there some way that I can keep his enclosure humid while also maintaining enough ventilation to get rid of any radon gas that may enter his enclosure?
 

Markw84

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Perhaps in China and your particular location, there is more concern and good information about radon gas. Especially if you say your area is on ground that emits particularly high amounts. Normally over 65% of the detectable radon gas found in a home is from the ground upon which the house sits. A very small portion from a granite countertop.

If your enclosure had no bottom and was sitting directly on the countertop essentially trapping anything being emitted, then radon levels could build up and I certainly would not recommend that. However, since you are talking about a closed chamber sitting on top of the granite, very little radon emitted from the granite is being directed into your enclosure through vents and when opening doors. In fact, the closed chamber is in effect reducing that exposure and keeping it from building. In any event, in a household here, I would not be at all concerned. If your area is know to be a abnormally high radon area due to ground emission, that is going to have far more effect and concern than what a countertop will emit.
 

Maro2Bear

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Ive lived in a few houses here in the Northeast/USA where radon gas is notoriously high, especially those houses with dugout full basements. Our house(s) had vents from basement to roof level with a very small fan that sucked air out & away. This type of mitigation seemed acceptable to home inspectors.

Im guessing there is enough air flow in your tortoises enclosure & your house so that the radon gas doesnt accumulate. I know that test kits are readily available for average home owners at least here in the US.

➡️ https://www.grainger.com/know-how/h...-radon-detection-remediation-awareness-302-qt

➡️➡️ https://www.grainger.com/product/BUILDING-HEALTH-CHECK-Radon-Screen-Check-6JHR0
 

zolasmum

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So my tortoise's enclosure sits directly on a big slab of granite, which normally emits a tiny amount of radioactive radon gas. Generally this should not be a problem for the normal household as good ventilation can deal with it, and people don't sit on granite all day. However, because I need to keep my tortoise enclosure humid I limit the air flow into and out of the enclosure, which makes me worry that a lot of radon gas could be trapped inside. He also spends a lot of time in his enclosure so if there is radon gas inside he would be constantly exposed to it.

It isn't just this slab of granite he is sitting on either, granite is a popular building material here so there is quite a lot of granite in my building. Also, geologically speaking, my entire city is sitting on a massive piece of granite which just spews radon. Again, good ventilation is enough to keep them at safe levels, but in this case idk how properly balance between humidity and not having him breathe radioactive gas 24/7.

Is there some way that I can keep his enclosure humid while also maintaining enough ventilation to get rid of any radon gas that may enter his enclosure?
When we moved to Devon in the UK we had to put radon test meters on the floor in a couple of different rooms, for several weeks, then send them back to be checked. The level was ok, but the meters would be a nuisance in a relatively small enclosure. Perhaps you could measure the radon whenever he isn't in the enclosure, but keeping the enclosure closed as you would when he is normally in it - just to get an idea of how much of a problem it might be. Also there are probably smaller and quicker responding meters than we could get 25 years ago.
It is so good that you are thinking of these problems - I am sure it wouldn't occur to most people, but maybe it should.
Angie
 

turtlesteve

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I helped with some research at my undergrad university on uranium minerals in granite. This topic came up big on TV news a couple years later and I actually ended up scanning countertop slabs a couple times for people’s peace of mind. The vast majority were not significantly radioactive but every now and then a slab would read over (or way over) background levels. I’m not convinced if these slabs pose an actual health issue given the detectors were extremely sensitive (e.g. a bag of kitty litter would set them off), but there is always potential since the minerals responsible for this were not uniformly distributed at all (could have two slabs of the same granite, and one would be cold and the other hot).

A radon test kit is probably your easiest choice if you are truly concerned.
 

Sitona

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Thank you for all the help, I will go get a radon test kit this weekend to see if the levels of radon gas are too high in his enclosure!
 

jeff kushner

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When we build big buildings here, we use air/vents to allow a path of migration for the heavier-than-air Radon when indicated. The Metro facilities South of DC in Alexandria are examples. For a new home, a rudimentary set of perforated drain pipes will channel the gas. a very inexpensive in-line duct fan is cheap to operate and very effective up to around 10,000SF or roughly 1000M2.

Honestly though, the presence of granite doesn't not guarantee radon. What we found is that granite just prevents the migration more than most, like a cap. If you do detect meaningful amounts and I truly hope that you do not, a simple method for moving the air will work.

good luck and good for you for realizing that "long term" dangers ALWAYS apply to our little friends!!
 

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