Radon comes naturally from rocks and dirt in the ground. There is always some radon in the air around us. The problem is when radon gas from underneath a home leaks in through cracks or gaps. Too much of it can build up inside. Radon can dissolve into the water supply and could make a small contribution to the radon gas present in the air in a home depending on the water source.
When you breathe in radon, radioactive particles from radon gas get trapped in your lungs. Over time, these radioactive particles increase the risk of lung cancer. It may take years before health problems appear. Radon is estimated to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, responsible for over 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. People who smoke and are exposed to radon are at a greater risk of developing lung cancer.
Learn Your Risk
Your chances of getting lung cancer from radon depend mostly on:
- How much radon is in your home – the location where you spend most of your time, like the main living and sleeping areas
- The amount of time you spend in your home
- Whether you are a smoker or have ever smoked
- Whether you burn wood, coal, or other substances that add particles to indoor air
Test Your Home
The U.S. Surgeon General recommends ALL homes be tested for radon gas. Testing your home is the only effective way to find out if you have a radon problem. If you do have a problem, then you can fix it. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends taking action if a home’s radon level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. EPA suggests you consider mitigation if your test result is between 2 and 4 pCi/L.
High radon levels can be a risk anywhere in any state. Both old and new homes can have radon problems as well as homes with or without basements. Two houses right next door to each other could have very different radon levels.Top of Page