What Is Radon, and Is It Dangerous?

July 28, 2021 10:38 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Have you heard of radon? This naturally-occurring gas is radioactive and can cause fatal lung cancer. It’s odorless, colorless and inert and can become trapped indoors after entering a building through cracks or other holes in the foundation.

Here’s more information you should know about radon dangers, including what radon is and how you can mitigate a radon problem on your property.

What is radon?

Radon is a naturally-occurring gas that exists in the atmosphere in trace amounts. Generally, it is not a health issue, as it disperses rapidly and widely enough to avoid any damage to our bodies. For this reason, most health problems that occur from radon exposure happen inside buildings.

So how does it get into buildings? Well, this naturally-occurring gas isn’t just found in the atmosphere—it’s also found in soil, rock and even water. It is a by-product of the breakdown of the element uranium.

Buildings constructed on soil with natural uranium deposits can sometimes see concentrations of radon gas build up over time. The gas can get into buildings through cracks in the floors or walls or even through gaps in service pipes or other construction elements.

Dangers of radon

Radon can be dangerous to your health. Breathing in this gas in small amounts is harmless to the body, but breathing it in large quantities or over long periods of time exposes the lungs to radiation and can damage the cells lining the lungs, which increases the risk of lung cancer.

In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It is estimated that about 21,000 people die from radon-related lung cancer each year.

That amount pales in comparison, however, to the number one cause of lung cancer, which is smoking cigarettes. For reference, smoking cigarettes causes more than 480,000 deaths from lung cancer each year. More than 7 million deaths worldwide are attributed to lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes. It’s important to note also that most radon-related cancer deaths occur in smokers; just over 10 percent of radon-related deaths occur in non-smokers.

What you can do to reduce or prevent radon harm

The EPA reports that elevated radon levels are estimated to be found in one in every 15 homes in the United States. There are some steps you can take to reduce the potential for harm from radon in your home.

First and foremost, you can have your home tested for radon by a professional. The EPA’s guidelines suggest that mitigation procedures should be enacted if a radon level is detected at or above 148 becquerels per cubic meter. If there is a radon problem, it is most often remedied by using an underground ventilation system or by increasing the rate of air exchange throughout the building.

If you are worried about radon dangers in your home or any other possible contaminants like mold or asbestos, get in touch with HealthSafe Inspections, Inc. today to schedule a full inspection of your home, including radon testing.

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