Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers
, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Thousands of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.
I’ll bet many of you didn’t know that (I didn’t – until researching this).
Here’s more of what you need to know about radon, and what to do about it.
Where does Radon gas and radiation come from?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas
that emanates from the ground and into the air as a result of Uranium breaking down in the soil.
Radon is present worldwide, and its concentration depends on the uranium content of the soil.
Radon in our homes accounts for 50% of the public’s exposure to naturally-occurring sources of radiation, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Radon gas escapes easily from the ground into the air and emits heavily ionizing radiation called alpha particles
. These particles are electrically charged and attach to dust and other particles in the air we breathe. As a result, the alpha particles can damage our DNA and potentially cause lung cancer over time.
Radon gas gets into your house through cracks at concrete floor-wall junctions, gaps in the floor, pores in hollow-block walls, and also sumps and drains. Because of this, radon levels are usually higher in basements, cellars or other areas in contact with soil.
How do I know if Radon levels are too high?
The U.S. EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter) or above — although they do recommend considering action above 2 pCi/L.
There are several methods you can use to determine the level of radon gas in your home.
A professional who comes to your home to take measurements.
A do-it-yourself kit which can be purchased to absorb measurements that you then send to a lab for analysis.
A radon gas detector for the home.
This particular (Made in the USA) radon gas detector is reviewed well and apparently yields reasonably accurate results – enough to indicate a major problem or not.
Safety Siren Pro Series3 Radon Gas Detector
The U.S. Radon (county) map shown above can be seen in full resolution here
Find out more about radon where you live from this EPA website
A little due-diligence on your part (risk discovery) along with some preventative action (if your radon level is too high) has the potential to mitigate your lung cancer risk over time…