Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is produced from the decay of radium, which is present in small amounts in the earth’s crust. It is odorless, tasteless, and colorless, making it difficult to detect without the use of specialized equipment. This makes radon the silent killer.
When radon gas is released into the air, it can be inhaled into the lungs. There, it can emit alpha particles (a type of ionizing radiation) that can damage the DNA in cells.
The Danger of Radon
Exposure to high levels of radon over an extended period of time can increase the risk of lung cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer worldwide. It’s also responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths each year in the United States alone.
It is estimated that about 1 in 15 homes in the United States has elevated radon levels. About 20% of lung cancer deaths in the United States are attributed to radon exposure. Utah is a high radon state, with 1 in 3 homes having dangerous levels of radon.
Where is Radon?
Radon can enter a home through cracks and openings in the foundation. It can accumulate to high levels in poorly ventilated areas, such as basements and crawl spaces. It can also enter a home through the water supply if the water comes from a well that is located in an area with high levels of radon.
The risk of developing lung cancer from radon exposure increases with the level of radon and the length of time of exposure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that homeowners take action to reduce radon levels in their homes if the levels are above 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. This level is considered the “action level” and is based on the average annual concentration of radon in the air. The EPA and WHO also suggest mitigating your home if 2 pCi/L or more.
Test Your Home for Radon, the Silent Killer
If you are concerned about radon levels in your home, it is important to test for radon. Then take steps to reduce the levels if they are elevated. There are several methods for mitigating radon, including sealing cracks and openings in the foundation, installing a ventilation system to reduce the concentration of radon in the air.
In conclusion, radon is a radioactive gas that can accumulate in homes and increase the risk of lung cancer. It is important to test for radon and take steps to reduce the levels if they are elevated to protect the health of you and your family. Test your home for Radon.