What is radon?
The US Environmental Protection Agency defines radon as: “a gaseous radioactive element having the symbol Rn, the atomic number 86, an atomic weight of 22; it is an extremely toxic, colorless gas; it comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils.
Is radon harmful?
Absolutely! Radon is a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning it has been clearly demonstrated to increase the risk of lung cancer in humans. The EPA states that “Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.” Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is one of the most extensively studied carcinogens, and the diversity and consistency of findings provide overwhelming evidence that protracted radon exposure is the leading environmental cause of cancer mortality in the United States. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.
How does radon enter buildings?
Radon is a gas so it can easily seep through any type of construction. Tiny cracks in the foundation, openings to the soil around pipes, drains, use of well-water, etc. are all possible entryways as it rises from the ground to the air above. Once in your home, the radon gets trapped inside, where it can build up. Regardless of foundation type, any home may have a high concentration of radon, new or old, sealed or drafty, even those in a geological low-radon areas.
My home tested positive for radon, now what?
Based on extensive research, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that homeowners take action to remediate the radon level in their home if it exceeds 100 becquerels (Bq), which corresponds to 2.7 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). The WHO does not say 2.7 is a safe level; there is no safe level. The EPA recommends homeowners should consider mitigation at levels of 2.0 pCi/L. At levels of 4.0 pCi/L, homeowners should be very concerned.