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William & Mary Geology Department offering radon testing to Williamsburg residents as part of senior's thesis project

Date Published: 10/16/2020 [Source]

The Department of Geology at William & Mary announced Wednesday that it will be conducting free radon testing in 30 homes within Williamsburg city limits, as part of a senior's thesis project.

The results of the radon tests, which the department hopes to conduct from Saturday through Oct. 24, will then be used to evaluate a radon-risk map that the department created. That map will be shared with the city of Williamsburg, according to a news release from the university.

Radon is dangerous because it is a radioactive element, with an unstable nucleus that is likely to disintegrate spontaneously into other products, some of which are also radioactive. These disintegrations, also called decays, emit radioactive energy that can damage the DNA of living beings and cause cancer in humans.

Radon is emitted naturally as a gas by some geologic formations, such as the Yorktown Formation, which runs under Williamsburg.

The amount of radon present in a home depends on a "set of factors including the particular geology underneath a home, construction method and elevation," according to the news release.