What Is Radon Poisoning?
Radon is an invisible, odorless and tasteless natural radioactive gas that is formed by the decay of uranium found in nearly all rocks and soils.
High levels of exposure have been proven to increase the risk of contracting lung cancers and other serious respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states radon gas is a problem in homes, schools, child care facilities and work places, entering the building via:
- Holes or cracks in the foundation
- Cracks in the floors or walls
- Construction joints
- Gaps in suspended floors
- Gaps for electrical wiring and plumbing
- Wall cavities
- Your water supply
Being invisible, odorless and tasteless radon in your home will silently impact the health of everyone exposed, and generally will not be evident until the signs and symptoms of possible life threatening illnesses are present.
Radon Health Facts
As radon breaks down small radioactive particles are inhaled into the lungs which then release tiny bursts of energy which can damage lung tissue.
- Radon is blamed for around 14 percent of all lung cancer cases around the globe, causing 21,000 deaths annually
- Radon has a synergistic effect with tobacco smoke so smokers are at a much higher risk of contracting lung cancer
- Radon and lung cancer have a linear relationship (double the exposure = double the risk – halve the exposure = half the risk)
How Do You Know If You Are Being Exposed To Radon?
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency estimates that one in fifteen homes will have abnormally high radon levels.
- Normal radon levels – 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air
- Average indoor radon levels are around 1.3 pCi/L, and about 0.4 pCi/L of radon in outside air.
The only way to be certain of radon levels in the home is to test.
You can either hire a professional to test your home or you can test it yourself in a couple of minutes with a simple do it yourself kit.
There are two different kinds of tests:
- Short-term test – get a quick reading of radon levels and readings are valid from two days up to around 90 days
- Long-term test – (last longer than 90 days) radon levels can change from season to season so a long term test will give you are more in-depth reading of your homes radon levels year round.
If You Discover High Radon Levels In Your Home
The EPA’s Consumer Guide to Radon Reduction provides an easy to read, step by step guide to identifying and fixing a radon problem in your home.