The media seems to be constantly trying to scare people with the latest disease, germ or danger just waiting to harm their families. It would be easy to lump radon into this category; after all, it’s a hot topic right now and its effects can sometimes sound a bit dramatic. But the truth is that radon is more harmful than you might think.
Radon is a radioactive carcinogen gas that is released from the soil and can travel through homes. Many soils in the United States contain uranium that decays over time and produces radium and polonium. When radon is released with the polonium, it makes the air and water it’s in contact with have a high toxicity level. It’s these gases that can be dangerous to a human’s health, especially because radon cannot be detected by smell, taste or vision.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that radon causes 21,000 deaths a year from lung cancer, and is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. In fact, in 2005, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard H. Carmona issued a national health advisory on radon. Symptoms of lung cancer are limited, and they tend to lie dormant until they become severe.
The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend that all homes be tested for radon below the third floor. EPA also recommends testing in schools. And if a building has a radon level of 4 pCi/L or more, the homeowner should call in a radon mitigation professional to reduce the levels. The EPA writes that some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99%, and that even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.
The United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) says that radon has become a worldwide health risk in homes. Dr. Maria Neira of WHO said, “Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose exposures in people’s homes.”
The EPA writes that radon can get into any type of building (houses, schools, office buildings, etc.) through a number of ways:
-Cracks in solid floors
-Cracks in walls
-Gaps in suspended floors
-Gaps around service pipes
-Cavities inside walls
-The water supply
Prevention is the only surefire method for battling lung cancer. Radon mitigation can help protect you and your family from the potential dangers of radon by reducing the levels of radon gas in your home. Have a professional test your home for radon today.