What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring gaseous radioactive element. It is an invisible, odorless and tasteless, It is derived from the radioactive decay of uranium. Radon is naturally occurring and present throughout the environment at very low levels. However when high levels are present, people are at a higher risk for lung cancer.
What you should know about Radon
Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States – second only to smoking. For nonsmokers radon is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer. Radon gas decays into radioactive particles (polonium) that can get trapped in your lungs
when you breathe. As they break down alpha particles damages lung tissue and leads to lung cancer over the course of time.
Your chances of getting lung cancer from radon depend mostly on; 1. How much radon is in your home, 2. The amount of time you spend in your home, 3. Whether you are a smoker or have ever smoked.
You should test for Radon
Testing is the only way to find out your home’s radon levels. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing of all homes below the third floor for radon.
You can fix a radon problem
If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.
If you are buying a home.
EPA recommends that you obtain the radon level in the home you are considering buying. An EPA publication “The Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide” is available through most State Health Departments or Regional EPA offices listed in your local phone book. EPA also recommends that you use a certified or state licensed radon tester to perform the test. If elevated levels are found it is recommended that these levels be reduced. In most cases, a professional can accomplish this at reasonable cost or homeowner installed mitigation system that adheres to the EPA’s approved methods for reduction of radon in a residential structure.
What are the Risk Factors?
The EPA, Surgeon General and The Center for Disease Control, have all agreed that continued exposure to Radon gas can cause lung cancer. In fact, their position on the matter is that all homes should be tested for radon gas exposure, and all homes testing over 4 pCi/L should be fixed.
How Does Radon Enter the Home?
Typically the air pressure inside your home is lower than the pressure in the soil around your home’s foundation.
Due to this difference, your house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon gas in through foundation cracks and other openings of your home.
Radon may also be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses.
Potential Entry Points:
1 Cavities inside walls
2 Cracks in solid floors
3 Construction joints
4 Cracks in walls
5 The water supply
6 Gaps in suspended floors
7 Gaps around service pipes