Many homeowners have questions about radon and the serious effects it can have on you, your family and even your home. But, the only way you’d ever even worry about radon is by learning about it and seeking professional assistance. Radon is an invisible, odorless, hazardous and natural occurring gas that is a result from uranium decay in the earth’s crust.
In the United States, radon is the leading cause of cancer found amongst non-smokers. Radon is dangerous because it quickly breaks down and scatters into the air. Large and dangerous amounts of radon can and will accumulate inside your home, within a short amount of time, without your knowledge or permission. As a result, radon exposure can cause lung cancer. Radon induced lung cancer kills 21,000 people each year. Let’s learn more about this silent killer so that we’re not growing anxious without hope.
There is hope.
By far the largest source of radon is located around and under your home in the soil, but this deadly gas can also present in the air, building materials, and public and private water supplies.
How is Radon Measured?
Since radon is invisible and odorless it can only be detected and measured using radon specific detection equipment and devices. Radon detectors are somewhat common in the United States and Canada and can be purchased at most hardware stores and home building centers.
Most radon detectors are generally placed in a home for several days, and then sent to a lab where your home’s radon levels will be analyzed and determined. There are more expensive models of radon detectors on the market that can be installed in your home by a professional. Whether a short term test that remains in the home for a few days, or a long term test that remains in the home for over 90 days. Whichever you prefer!
Does My Home Have Elevated Radon Levels?
Radon tends to move through the soil, so any homeowner with a dirt crawl space beneath their home, may be exposed to the high levels of radon. However, homes with concrete foundations can also have high levels of radon. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends an action level of 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
This radioactive gas can enter a home through the smallest crack in the walls and floor of your home’s foundation, through utility lines, and even drains and sump openings. Radon is not just limited to the basement or crawl space of your home. It quickly travels upstairs into your main living space.
What Are The Health Effects of Radon Exposure?
According to the EPA, smokers who have been exposed to radon have a greater chance of developing lung cancer. However, radon induced lung cancer also kills many people who have never smoked or been hugely affected by second hand smoke, everyone is at risk. Unfortunately, studies have also shown that children are at a higher health risk of developing health effects due to radon exposure, in comparison to adults.
What Are the Symptoms of Radon Poisoning?
Studies show that radon causes some of the highest numbers of lung cancer cases throughout the United States. A persistent cough, respiratory difficulties, hoarseness, breathing difficulties, and respiratory infections are all common indications of radon gas poisoning.
Recognizing Radon Poisoning
Radon poisoning typically occurs where there are high levels of radon gas. This usually occurs when a person is constantly exposed to poorly ventilated crawl spaces, mines or basements.
Radon originates through a decaying process that releases tiny radioactive particles, and when inhaled can begin to deplete lung tissue resulting in lung cancer.
How Do I Protect My Family Against Radon Poisoning?
The United States Surgeon General office recommends that homeowners periodically test their homes for radon in order to stay on top of the conditions. Radon levels can change on a daily basis because of changes in soil composition, weather, encapsulation, and more. Have your home tested and mitigated. If you have any suspicions or concerns about radon induced lung cancer, be sure to get tested for lung cancer.