What is Radon?
Updated: May 19
Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally occurring in the environment. It is produced by the decay of uranium and other radioactive elements found in soil, rock, and water. Radon is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, making it impossible to detect without specialized testing equipment.
Radon is a concern because it can be harmful to human health. When radon is inhaled, it can damage the cells that line the lungs, increasing the risk of lung cancer. In fact, radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after smoking.
Radon can enter homes through cracks in the foundation, walls, or floors, as well as through gaps around pipes and cables. Once inside, radon can accumulate to high levels if it is not properly ventilated. Radon levels can vary widely from one home to another, even within the same neighborhood.
The only way to know if a home has elevated levels of radon is to test for it. Homeowners can purchase do-it-yourself radon testing kits or hire a professional to conduct the test. The test typically involves placing a small device in the lowest level of the home, such as the basement or crawl space, for a period of several days. The device then measures the level of radon present in the air.
If elevated levels of radon are detected, there are several steps homeowners can take to reduce the risk of exposure. The most effective method is to install a radon mitigation system, which uses a fan to draw radon from beneath the home and vent it outside. Other measures may include sealing cracks and gaps in the foundation, improving ventilation, and increasing the amount of outdoor air that circulates through the home.
In summary, radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can pose a health risk if it accumulates to high levels inside a home. Homeowners can test for radon and take steps to reduce exposure if elevated levels are detected. By addressing radon levels early on, homeowners can help protect their health and the health of their families.