Recent advances in technology have produced some pretty cool gadgets. For example, Apple AirPods did away with that annoying cord, freeing us to listen to music or talk on the phone without the fear of choking ourselves. There is also the Amazon Echo, which introduced us to Alexa and allowed us to speak into existence everything from jazz music to take out pizza to more light by which to read.
Ecosense’s EcoQube definitely deserves a spot on the list of cool gadgets introduced over the last few years. But the EcoQube is more than cool. It is a life saver, harnessing the latest technology to expose an invisible killer gas and reduce cancer-related deaths.
The dangers of radon gas
Cancer is the number one killer in the world. In 2020, it claimed the lives of 10 million people. And the most deadly type of cancer is lung cancer.
When you ask most people what causes lung cancer, the answer will probably be cigarette smoke. And that answer is correct. But it is not the only correct answer; the second leading cause of lung cancer is radon gas.
To the uninitiated, radon gas might seem like something cooked up in a lab by a super villain in a Marvel movie. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, meaning it is undetectable to humans. And it is radioactive, meaning that it causes serious health issues for humans when encountered in large enough quantities.
Where does radon come from?
Uranium is a naturally occurring radioactive element that is found in soil, rocks, and groundwater. As uranium decays, it becomes radium, which in turn breaks down and releases radon into the air, where its dangerous radioactive properties can come into contact with humans by being breathed into the lungs.
In outdoor spaces, radon is encountered in very small amounts. While 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) is considered a dangerous amount of radon, outside air typically contains only 0.4 pCi/L. But once radon finds access to indoor spaces, it accumulates, exposing inhabitants to dangerous levels of radiation.
Because radon is chemically unreactive, it stays small enough to fit into the smallest of spaces. The smallest crack in a foundation can be the entry point that allows radon into a home.
What makes your home vulnerable to radon?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nearly one in 15 homes in the US is estimated to have elevated levels of radon. Radon can be found in homes in any state, as well as schools and workplaces. And radon is not limited to old homes.
The EPA, in A Citizen’s Guide to Radon, lists several ways in which radon can enter a home:
- Cracks in solid floors
- Cracks in walls
- Construction joints
- Gaps in suspended floors
- Gaps around service pipes
- Cavities inside walls
- The water supply.
Once radon finds a way in, it begins to accumulate. The only way to detect it is with a radon detecting device.
Selecting the best radon detector
While there are professionals who will conduct radon tests for residential and commercial buildings, radon detectors can be purchased by anyone, with the cheapest costing less than $10 and the most expensive costing several hundred dollars.
The most economical versions of radon detectors are passive radon tests, which typically employ charcoal to capture a sample of the air in the area that is being tested. Once the passive test has had an adequate amount of time to get a good representative sample, it is mailed to a lab where it is analyzed.
Passive tests are problematic in two ways. First, they can take a long time to get results. After it is captured, the sample must be mailed away for analysis. Every day that you wait for results is another day that you could be exposed to radon gas.
Also, passive tests provide a measurement of the radon gas buildup in a home during a user-defined period of time that is often less than five days. Because a variety of factors can affect the amount of radon gas in the air, the best detectors provide long-term testing of radon levels.
When radon tests provide a false positive, the result can be unnecessary and costly investment in home improvements meant to mitigate health risks. When radon tests provide a false negative, the result can be extended exposure to a known carcinogen.
How the EcoQube ensures safety
Lung cancer is a disease for which there is no cure. With stakes that high, the highest degree of protection should be employed. Ecosense’s EcoQube is a great example of a radon detector that uses advanced technology to prevent exposure to unacceptable levels of radon.
Included on TIME’s list of “The Best Inventions of 2021,” the EcoQube brings together all of the most important elements for effective radon detection. It is fast, providing initial readings in only ten minutes, with highly reliable results in one hour. That means you know within minutes if you are being exposed to dangerous levels of radon. With other radon detectors, reliable results can take days.
The EcoQube is also extremely accurate, utilizing a pulsed ion chamber that has a sensitivity to radon that is 15 times more sensitive than the minimum standard set by the American National Standards Institute and the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists.
In addition, the EcoQube packages its technology in a compact cube that can fit in the palm of your hand, meaning it can sit inconspicuously in your home and provide protection that never goes off duty. When the EcoQube detects an unacceptable level of radon, it alerts you with a visual LED indicator, an audio alarm, and an alert sent via Wi-Fi to your smartphone.
Staying safe with ongoing monitoring
Unfortunately, in most cases radon testing is a one time event that occurs when someone buys a home. While that is important, a one time assessment does not guarantee a long term absence of a radon-related health threat.
To know if a home is developing a radon problem over time, readings must be taken regularly and records must be kept and compared. EcoQube provides that type of radon detection, gathering data over time that can be accessed online and reviewed for unhealthy trends.
One of the myths about radon identified by the EPA is that radon testing is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. With a radon detector like EcoQube, keeping your family safe from the dangers of radon is easy, efficient, and affordable.