With a lot of attention on lung and respiratory health now because of COVID-19, it's important to know everything that can damage your lungs.
Although we spend a lot of time protecting our lungs when we leave our homes, it's still important to remember that the quality of the air inside our home matters, too.
The air inside of your home can be majorly affected by the presence of a radioactive gas called radon.
According to the American Lung Association, this gas can build up to dangerous levels, increasing your risk of developing lung cancer, even in nonsmokers.
That's why every home should take advantage of radon testing, which is easy, inexpensive, and lifesaving, the organization says.
In the article below, we will look at what radon is and if you are at risk.
Table of Contents
- What Is Radon?
- How Does Radon Cause Lung Cancer?
- Home Testing For Radon
- How to Reduce Radon Levels in Your Home
- Contact Radon Eliminator
What Is Radon? Am I At Risk For Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is odorless, colorless, and naturally occurring.
When radon is inhaled into the lungs, it can damage your lungs' lining, increasing your risk for cancer.
Radon is formed when uranium, thorium, or radium break down in the water, rocks, and soil.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Radon gas then releases into the dirt beneath your home.
Once in the dirt, the radon gas will enter your home through cracks and holes in its foundation, or less commonly, through well water and building materials.
And just because you've never heard of it doesn't mean it's rare.
In fact, about 1 in every 15 homes has what's considered an elevated radon level.
And since the gas is odorless and invisible and causes no immediate symptoms, the only way to know if your home is affected is by having it tested for radon.
How Does Radon Cause Lung Cancer?
If you're exposed to elevated radon levels over a long period of time, it increases your risk of developing lung cancer.
In the United States, an estimated 21,000 people die from radon-related lung cancer every year.
That's second only to cigarette smoking that kills 160,000 people every year.
According to the agency, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. It's the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.
And if you smoke or you used to smoke, you have an even greater chance of developing lung cancer if you are exposed to radon.
Lung cancer from radon exposure occurs over many years of high-level exposure, so testing is so important.
The CDC explains that breathing in radon traps radioactive particles in your lungs, eventually leading to lung cancer.
Your risk increases depending on your exposure level, status as a smoker, and exposure to other in-house pollutants, like a wood-burning stove, fireplace, or second-hand smoke.
Home Testing for Radon
Radon is found outdoors in low quantities, so everyone is exposed to it at some point.
The radon you breathe in outside is relatively harmless.
Radon is much more dangerous inside a home because it's in a smaller space and therefore concentrated at a significantly higher level.
You can buy an at-home kit at most hardware stores.
Just be sure that it meets EPA requirements so it can be used to test for radon in your home.
You can start with short-term radon testing with a home kit that measures your levels for 3-90 days.
The sample your short-term test collects will be sent for analysis, and the results will be mailed to you within a few weeks.
Long-term testing is also available, which gives you a more accurate picture of the levels in your house.
Long-term tests measure air quality over about 90 days.
Radon levels fluctuate frequently, so it's best to do a long-term test.
Long-term tests can also be performed with a home kit.
Your levels will always be higher on the lowest level of your home, like the basement.
But don't think it's not necessary to test your house for radon just because you don't spend a lot of time in your basement.
Radon is usually less problem on upper levels of houses, given the airflow, which naturally reduces radon exposure.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have your house tested.
People should check the levels in their house even if they don't have a finished basement or never spend much time in their basement.
When testing for radon, be sure to follow all instructions on the kit.
If you'd like to check your water for radon, that will require a separate test.
You should consult your county health department for information on testing your water or contact a specialist.
When testing for radon your levels need to be below a certain number. Read our blog post: "What is the Average Level of Radon in an Ohio Home?"
How to Reduce Radon Levels in Your Home
You should reduce radon in your home if they exceed 4 picocuries per liter. And you should do it as soon as possible.
Over time, radon will disappear due to radioactive decay.
However, anyone with elevated radon should take the time and spend the money to get the problem fixed to avoid potentially catastrophic health issues in the future.
Don't panic if you have high radon levels in your basement because t's very easy to remedy.
You can install a mitigation system that will allow radon gas from beneath the home to be immediately vented outside into the air above your house.
According to the EPA, a radon mitigation system can eliminate up to 99 percent of radon from your home.
These devices should always be installed and supervised by a certified radon mitigation specialist or radon remediation service.
Retesting should be done at regular intervals to ensure that the radon mitigation has been successful.
Contact Radon Eliminator
Knowing your home's air quality can give you peace of mind and leave you breathing a little easier.
For added peace of mind, contact Radon Eliminator to have your home tested for radon.
Radon Eliminator will test your home for radon. If your results come back high, they can install a radon mitigation system to return your home to normal.
Click the button below to schedule your Discounted Test today to be sure you aren't being exposed to radon.