Radon Dangers at Home

Did you know that radon is the second leading contributor to lung cancer behind cigarette smoking?

This invisible gas -- even in low or moderate levels -- can cause severe health implications. Although you can't see, smell or taste radon, it could be a problem in your home.

Radon is a radioactive, naturally occurring gas that forms from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It gets into the air you breathe and can be especially dangerous at home where you spend most of your time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says radon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States.

The hazard arises from inhalation of radon gas and its highly radioactive heavy metallic decay products (polonium, lead and bismuth), which collect on dust in the air. These elements can stick to the delicate cells lining the passageways leading into the lungs.

Testing for radon is the only definitive way to know whether it is present. If your radon level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher, steps should be taken to reduce radon. Radon reduction kits can reduce radon by up to 99 percent, and they're generally inexpensive.

You can also call in a professional radon mitigator. Some professionals are licensed and others have been certified through The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), which administers a voluntary National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) for radon professionals who want to take training courses and examinations to demonstrate their competency.

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