Radon Eliminator Blog

Which is worse, radon or asbestos?

If I have a choice, I'm choosing neither. If I have an old home, I'm inspecting everything for asbestos. And regardless of the age of my house, I'm getting it tested for radon, and having a mitigation system installed if necessary.

So, when you put radon against asbestos, the real loser is us.

Radon Vs. Asbestos

When you're purchasing a home, you probably have a list of things you'd like it to have.

You probably have some "must haves" and some things that would be nice, but not absolutely necessary.

Maybe you want 2.5 baths. Or you can't have a home without a front porch.

Maybe a pool with a nice pool deck would be nice, but not necessary.

 If you've ever purchased a home, you've had one of those lists.

Those lists, however, are mostly filled with aesthetics, leaving off the "functional" items.

It's assumed everyone wants a house that has a roof with no leaks.

And no one wants to buy a house where the plumbing doesn't work.

Those things are obvious; they don't need to be added to your list.

There are a few things that aren't obvious or aesthetic that can be easily looked over.

A couple of things no one wants in their new home, but can sometimes slip through the cracks.

I'm talking about asbestos and radon.

These are two completely different things, but if you find a house with them, you want to steer clear.

Or if the house you're currently living in has them, you need to get them removed.

Below we will learn more about asbestos and radon.

Table of Contents 

  1. What is Asbestos? 
  2. Where is Asbestos Found? 
  3. Common Materials that Contain Asbestos 
  4. Common Places to Find Asbestos
  5. Why is Asbestos Dangerous? 
  6. What is Radon? 
  7. Where is Radon Found? 
  8. Why is Radon Dangerous? 
  9. Radon Vs. Asbestos
  10. Schedule a Discounted Radon Test 

What Is Asbestos

We'll start with asbestos, the one more people have probably heard of.

Asbestos is found in rocks and the soil.

It's not just one mineral, but different typed of minerals.

They have fibers that work very well in manufacturing.

They're flexible and resistant to heat, chemicals, and electricity.

Because of this, they were used for use in construction materials, auto parts, and even textiles.

These fibers separate very easily into tiny pieces when they're handled or damaged.

They're too small to see with the naked eye, but they are easily breathed into your lungs where they can build up and create health problems.

Where is Asbestos Found

Asbestos is found naturally in the environment, and as we mentioned above, was used to manufacture many products.

There's a good chance your home has asbestos somewhere in it, especially if it's an older home.

Luckily, the asbestos won't affect you unless it's disturbed and gets in the air.

However, be aware that some asbestos can become air born without you touching it at all.

For example, insulation around furnaces and pipes deteriorate, and as the insulation breaks down, it releases asbestos dust into the air.

Common materials or products that contain asbestos include:

  • Insulation for attics, pipes, and furnaces
  • Roofing and siding tiles
  • Plaster compounds
  • Asbestos and cement shingles
  • Paints and adhesives
  • Many floor tiles as well as flooring adhesives
  • Soundproofing applications
  • Electrical wiring casings

Asbestos is found in most homes built before 1980.

If you're buying an older home or renovating one, you should know where to look for asbestos and what to do if you find it.

The most common places to find asbestos in the home are:

  • Water tanks
  • Insulation
  • Air duct coverings
  • Pipes
  • Textured paint
  • Door gaskets
  • Popcorn ceilings
  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Floor and walls around wood burning stoves
  • Gutters
  • Exterior window panels
  • Roof
  • Cement panels

Why Is Asbestos Dangerous

Exposure to asbestos presents a number of health risks.

If you breathe in the fibers over long periods of time, you increase your risk for diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

Smokers are even more affected because the cigarette smoke has already irritated lung passages.

If you're exposed to asbestos at work, you can develop a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs, chest, or abdomen. An early warning sign is a buildup of fluid around your lungs.

You might also have pain around your rib cage, difficulty breathing, a chronic cough, pain in your belly, fatigue, or constipation. 

You can also come down with the disease called asbestosis.

Asbestosis affects your lungs and causes coughing, shortness of breath, and even permanent lung damage.

Similar to mesothelioma, asbestosis won't occur until years after a person has breathed in asbestos fibers on a regular basis.

What is Radon

Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that’s produced by decaying uranium.

Radon present in most soils around the globe, and very low levels of radon gas are found in the air we breathe every day.

Because radon is an unstable gas, it breaks down and dissipates quickly in the open air. 

Radon is also the second leading cause of lung cancer in America, right behind smoking cigarettes.

If you do smoke, your chances of developing cancer because of radon gas are exponentially higher.

Where Is Radon Found

Unlike asbestos, radon is a gas, and it has never been used in manufacturing.

Instead, radon occurs naturally around us.  

Radon is most commonly found in soils.

Radon can also make its way into well water or surface water from the soil that surrounds it.

It can also escape into the air, and that's when it starts to become dangerous.

If you have radon in the soil surrounding your home, there's a good chance you have radon in your home.

The radon can get in through cracks in your foundation, and once it's in, it stays there.

Low levels of radon are harmless.

When you're exposed to high levels of radon for extended periods is when you have to worry.

Why Is Radon Dangerous

Just like asbestos, exposure to radon is a pretty significant health risk.

The main risk to your health with radon is lung cancer.

As the second leading cause of lung cancer, it is believed that radon is responsible for 21,000 deaths every year.

Unfortunately, most people never find out they have radon in their homes until it's too late.

In many cases, the home isn't tested for radon gas until after a lung cancer diagnosis has been made.

Unlike asbestos, there are no warning signs with radon.

With asbestos, you know if your house was made before 1980, there's a good chance there's asbestos in it.

You also know what to look for in your home that likely has asbestos.

And, you know that for the most part, if the asbestos is left alone, it's harmless.

With radon, there are no warnings.

It's colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and occurs naturally.

The only way to know you have elevated levels of radon in your home is to get it tested.

-back to table of contents 

Radon Vs. Asbestos

So, which is worse, radon or asbestos?

Which one would you rather have in your home?

If I have a choice, I'm choosing neither.

If I have an old home, I'm inspecting everything for asbestos.

I'm also getting my house tested for radon, and having a mitigation system installed if necessary.

So, when you put radon against asbestos, the real loser is us.

Discounted Radon Testing

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Topics: radon