Exposure to Radon

Radon is produced by the breakdown of its precursors in minerals from which it disperse in small amounts. It is a radioactive gas and is present both outdoors and indoors. But radon is much higher in the indoors than the outdoors. It is naturally present in soil, water, and air. But soil is the main contributor of radon in many homes. It is said to be the second leading of lung cancer overall and the first leading cause of cancer deaths among non-smokers. It is responsible for as many as 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year.

According to the Iowa Radon Survey, the state of Iowa has the largest percentage (71.6%) of homes above the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action level of about 4pCi/L, which is more than any state in the United States. Radon can enter homes through crack in the floors, walls, foundations, and can be collected indoors. It can also be released from building materials and from water coming from wells containing radon. High levels of radon can be found on homes that are very well-insulated, tightly sealed, or built on soil rich in uranium. Basement or first floors usually have the highest levels of radon because they’re the closest to the ground.

Radon is tasteless, odorless, and colorless. It is a radioactive gas. Radon can be found across the world in various concentrations. It forms from the decay of uranium in rock, soil, and water. When radon gas is produced, it migrates through the soil and moves upward and enters the air we breathe. Radon can enter buildings through cracks in the walls or floors, open soil in crawl spaces, poorly-sealed floor drains, or in pipe entry points.

Radon is very harmful and is said to be the second leading cause of cancer deaths. When radon decays, it produces radioactive particles. It then becomes trapped in the lungs and may eventually damage the tissues. Exposure to radon in elevated levels increases the risk of having lung cancer.

For people who smoke, the risk is much higher. It would actually take many years of exposure to radon before the inception of lung cancer. If a person has higher exposure to radon, the greater the risk will be of inducing lung cancer. Radon levels actually vary throughout the year. The accurate test that is recommended is the long-term one. Long-term tests can be as short as three months. You can also do short-term testing for radon but they are used only for initial screening.

Too much exposure to radon can cause lung cancer and every home in the United States may be at risk. To ensure that your homes are safe from radon exposure, you can buy test kits or hire a professional to conduct radon testing.

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