But, can radon be good for you?
In Montana, there is a place where people pay to inhale and drink radon, so it can't be all bad, right?
Unfortunately, no matter what the people in Montana are doing, radon risks are very real, and you shouldn't take them lightly.
We'll dive deeper in the article below.
You are likely not one of the aforementioned tourists going to Montana for such treatments. However, does that mean radon isn't really a concern? Find out in our blog post titled: Should I Care About Radon?
Table Of Contents
- What Is Radon?
- Radon In Homes
- Radon And Cancer
- What Are The Symptoms Of Radon Poisoning?
- Testing Your Home For Radon And Reducing Radon Levels
- Make Sure You Aren't Being Exposed To Radon
What Is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas produced when uranium, thorium, and radium break down in soil, rock, and water.
Once broken down, it can be released into the air, soil, and water.
Radon is most dangerous when we are exposed to it in the air inside of our homes or workplaces.
The outdoor radon level is usually nothing to worry about.
And radon is odorless, tasteless, and invisible, and there are no medical tests for radon exposure.
There's no way to know we're being exposed.
Radon accumulates in places where ventilation is inadequate, like the basement of many homes.
Long-term exposure to high levels of radon can increase your risk of lung cancer and be dangerous to your health.
Radon In Homes
Most people are exposed to radon when it builds to unsafe levels in the buildings they frequent.
The concentration of radon in buildings depends on:
- The uranium content and permeability of the underlying rocks and soils
- The routes available for the passage of radon from the soil into the building
- Radon exhalation from building materials
- The rate of exchange between indoor and outdoor air
Residential radon exposure occurs when radon enters buildings through cracks in floors, gaps around pipes or cables, tiny pores in hollow-block walls, cavity walls, or sumps or drains.
Radon levels are usually higher in basements because they contact the ground.
But considerable radon concentration can also be found above the ground floor.
Radon levels can vary considerably between buildings and within buildings from day to day and even hour to hour.
Because of these fluctuations, you should do long-term testing to estimate your average radon levels.
Residential radon levels can be easily measured using radon test kits.
Short-term radon tests should only be used when making decisions during time-sensitive situations, like home sales, or to test the effectiveness of a radon mitigation system.
Radon And Cancer
One of the most adverse effects of radon is the increased risk of cancer, lung cancer specifically.
Radon gas in the air breaks down into tiny radioactive elements that get stuck in the lining of your lungs, where they can give off radiation.
This radiation quickly damages lung cells and will eventually lead to lung cancer.
Radon poisoning is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, behind only cigarette smoking.
Radon causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year.
The combination of radon gas and cigarette smoke dramatically increases the risk of lung cancer.
Most radon-related lung cancers develop in people who smoke, but radon is also a significant number of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers.
Radon exposure may also be linked to other types of cancer, such as childhood leukemia.
But the evidence isn't nearly as strong for those cancers as it is for lung cancer.
Because the radioactive particles in the lungs travel only a short distance, it is unlikely that radon would affect other tissues in the body.
What Are The Symptoms Of Radon Poisoning?
Unfortunately, there are no symptoms of radon poisoning.
The real danger of radon exposure is that you can’t see, taste, or smell it, and you won’t have any symptoms to alert you.
Most people only find out they've been exposed to radon when they start noticing signs of lung cancer.
The symptoms of lung cancer can include shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing up blood.
Testing Your Home For Radon And Reducing Radon Levels
Since there are no symptoms of radon exposure, the only way to know you're being exposed to it is by testing your home.
Radon testing kits are inexpensive and straightforward and can be purchased at home improvement stores, hardware stores, or online.
The tests are small, and you leave them sitting in your house in one of the lower-level rooms.
When the test is complete, you send it off to a lab for testing.
However, many people choose to have their homes tested by certified radon professionals to ensure an accurate result because of the risk radon exposure carries.
Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L).
There isn't a "safe" radon level, but the average indoor radon level in the United States is about 1.3 pCi/L.
The US Surgeon General and EPA recommend fixing homes with radon levels at or above four pCi/L.
Radon mitigation diverts the radon gas from under the basement floor through a pipe to the outside.
Once outdoors, the radon gas dissipates and is not a hazard.
Radon mitigation systems installed by a professional vary in price but usually cost between $800 and $1,500.
Make Sure You Aren't Being Exposed To Radon
Unlike the tourists in Montana, you need to be sure you aren't being exposed to unsafe radon levels.
The only way to be sure you're home is free of elevated levels of radon is to have it tested and mitigated professionally.
The experts at Radon Eliminator will do just that.
They can test your home and install a mitigation system to restore the radon levels to a safe reading.
You don't want to wait too long to do this; the health of you and your family could be at risk.
Click the button below to get started.