Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water. Your home can trap radon inside.
Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time.
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level (4 pCi/L or more). Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state. Contact your state radon office for information about radon in your area.
The first test you do is normally a short-term screening measurement. These tests need to be done under closed-house conditions, so the winter heating season is the ideal time to test. However, testing can be done at any time of year if closed house conditions can be met.
Radon Health Risk
Radon is a Class A carcinogen, which means it is known to cause cancer in humans. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, resulting in approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. Only smoking causes more lung cancers.
The problem occurs when radon and radon decay products (RDPs) are breathed in. Radon is exhaled, as are many of the RDPs, but some of the RDPs get trapped in the lungs. As they undergo radioactive decay and emit alpha energy, the alpha particles can strike sensitive lung tissue, causing physical and/or chemical damage to the DNA.
When alpha particles strike and damage a lung cell, the cell will either:
- Die (which seems like a bad thing, but new cells are generated to replace dead cells)
- Repair itself and heal
- Try to repair itself, but do so incorrectly. Eventually, this can lead to the formation of cancerous cells.
Not everyone who breathes radon will develop lung cancer.
Your risk is determined by such things as:
How much radon is in your indoor environment.
The amount of time you spend in that indoor environment.
Whether you smoke or ever have smoked.
The only known health effect of radon is an increased risk of lung cancer, and exposure to elevated radon levels does not result in any warning symptoms like headaches, nausea, fatigue, or skin rashes. The only way to know whether you are being exposed to elevated radon levels is to test your home (and other indoor environments).
Many national and international organizations believe radon is an important environmental health concern, and they support testing for radon and reducing exposure to elevated radon levels. Just a few of those organizations are listed below.
- American Lung Association
- American Medical Association
- Centers for Disease Control
- Environmental Protection Agency
- International Commission on Radiological Protection
- National Academy of Science
- National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement
- U.S. Surgeon General
- World Health Organization
Additional risk information is available at several locations online. The U.S. EPA’s Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes can be found at their website at http://www.epa.gov/radon/risk_assessment.html.
The National Research Council’s Commission on Life Sciences has posted The Health Effects of Exposure to Indoor Radon at http://books.nap.edu/books/0309056454/html/. This report, commonly known at the BEIR VI report (the sixth report on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) was released in February of 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences, and represented the most definitive accumulation of scientific radon risk data available at that time. An Executive Summary and a Public Summary are also available athttp://books.nap.edu/html/beir6/.
Another interesting study, Residential Radon and Lung Cancer Case-Control Study, conducted by the University of Iowa School of Public Health, can be found athttp://www.cheec.uiowa.edu/misc/radon.html.
– U.S. Surgeon General Health Advisory
“Indoor radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country. It’s important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques.”
Since radon is tasteless, odorless, and colorless, it can’t be detected with your senses. The only way to know whether your home has elevated radon levels is to test with a device specifically designed to detect radon.
When you’re looking for fast, reliable lab testing and sample gathering services for your personal or commercial needs, look no further than Rapid Recovery Service, Inc.
No matter what your needs, we have the staff and equipment on hand for all variety of testing needs, including radon, asbestos, lead paint, and mold. We will dispatch a certified member of our team to survey the testing site and perform the necessary steps to acquire samples and send them in for you for results.
Contact us for a complete listing and pricing information on all of our testing services –