Some health risks are more subtle than others. Radon is an invisible, odorless gas that can create a very serious threat to you and your family’s health. Here are a few facts about radon, and what you can do to help keep your family healthy and safe.
Radon is radioactive
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It’s produced when uranium breaks down. The gas is released through rocks, soil, and water, and can build up in enclosed spaces through cracks in the foundation or other openings in the building.
Radon causes cancer
Breathing radon can increase your risk of developing lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.
Lung cancer caused by radon exposure has a very low survival rate. The EPA and Surgeon General estimate that radon causes 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
No immediate symptoms
There are no immediate symptoms of radon exposure. You won’t have blurred vision, nausea, or a headache that would indicate unsafe levels of radon in your home. It could take years for you to develop symptoms.
You must test for radon
Radon can’t be seen or smelled. You can’t hear it, and you can’t taste it, either. This means that you must test for radon to know for sure if it’s in your home.
Test your home for radon if you’ve never tested before. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to keep your family healthy and safe. You can buy radon test kits at hardware stores or online.
Radon is present indoors and outdoors
The radon gas that occurs outdoors it is diluted, so it doesn’t present a health risk. Radon that gets trapped in homes can build to dangerous levels, however.
The average indoor radon level in the United States is 1.3 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The EPA and Surgeon General both recommend fixing home with levels over 4 pCi/L. However, the EPA also recommends fixing homes with radon levels of 2 picocuries pCi/L.
Radon can build up in any building
Radon isn’t just a problem in homes. It can be found in schools, office buildings, or any other type of building. New homes and old homes, with or without basements, can have unsafe levels of radon.
The Arkansas Department of Health Radiation Control office is located in Little Rock. You can call them at 501-661-2301 for questions or inquiries regarding radon in your home.