Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. It is formed by the decay of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon can enter homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors. Once inside, it can accumulate to high levels and become a health hazard. Radon exposure health risks can be a very serious matter.
Radon Leads to Cancer
Did you know that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States after smoking, and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers? The risk of lung cancer increases with exposure to higher levels of radon and the length of time exposed.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon exposure causes an estimated 21,000 deaths from lung cancer each year in the United States. In fact, it is responsible for about 15 percent of lung cancer deaths worldwide.
Why is Radon Exposure Dangerous to Your Health?
The health risks associated with radon exposure are largely due to its decay products. When radon decays, it produces radioactive particles that can be inhaled into the lungs. These particles can damage lung tissue, leading to the development of lung cancer over time.
The risk of lung cancer from radon exposure depends on several factors, including the concentration of radon in the air, the duration of exposure, and individual factors such as smoking history and family history of lung cancer.
The EPA has established a radon action level of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. If radon levels in a home or building exceed this level, the EPA recommends that measures be taken to reduce radon exposure. The EPA and WHO also recommend considering installing a mitigation system with levels 2-4 pCi/L.
Radon Exposure Health Risks by State
The risk of radon exposure varies depending on the geology of the region. The EPA has developed a radon map of the United States that identifies areas with higher radon potential. The map is based on data from thousands of radon measurements across the country.
One state that is particularly at risk for radon exposure is Utah. In fact, Utah has the highest average radon levels in the country, with nearly 1 in 3 homes in Utah having radon levels above the EPA action level.
Radon Exposure Symptoms
Exposure to radon gas does not cause any immediate symptoms, but prolonged exposure can increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Symptoms of lung cancer may not appear until the disease is advanced. These symptoms can include persistent cough, chest pain, hoarseness, difficulty breathing, and coughing up blood.
Who Will Have Health Risks with Radon Exposure?
Smoking combined with radon exposure is an especially dangerous combination. Smoking damages the lungs and makes them more susceptible to the harmful effects of radon. Smokers who are exposed to radon have a significantly higher risk of developing lung cancer than non-smokers who are exposed to radon.
Children and infants are also at risk for radon exposure. They may be more vulnerable to the harmful effects of radiation because their lungs are still developing. Exposure to high levels of radon over a long period of time can increase the risk of lung cancer in children and infants.
How to Reduce and Fix Radon
Radon exposure can be reduced through a process called radon mitigation. This involves installing a ventilation system to draw the radon gas out of the home or building and disperse it into the atmosphere. The system can be installed by a professional contractor trained in radon mitigation.
Radon testing is the only way to know if a home or building has high levels of radon. Testing is easy and inexpensive, and can be done by the homeowner or a professional. The EPA recommends that all homes and buildings be tested for radon, regardless of their location.
Test Your Home for Radon Exposure
In conclusion, radon exposure is a serious health risk that can lead to the development of lung cancer. The risk of radon exposure varies depending on the geology of the region. Utah has the highest average radon levels in the country, with nearly 1 in 3 homes having dangerous levels of radon. Order a Radon Test Kit and test your home today. Contact Radon Be Gone if you have high levels of radon and need mitigation services.