The Dangers of Radon
In the United States, one in fifteen houses has high radon levels that put residents at risk of lung cancer and other health issues. Because radon is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, it can go undetected for years before anyone in the home experiences symptoms. Here are the most important things to know about radon in the home and the risks it poses.
What Is Radon?
Radon is formed when uranium and other radioactive elements decay in rocks and soil. Radon gas can enter a building in a variety of ways. When it’s dispersed into the outdoors, it is harmless because it doesn’t build up to high concentrations. However, if radon collects in the home, it is a serious health danger for you and your family.
How Does Radon Enter Houses?
Because radon is gaseous, it doesn’t need but a small opening to get inside of a home. When radon is in the soil, it will enter your house through small cracks in your foundation, seams between walls or floors, and gaps around pipes. The lower levels of the home, such as basements and crawl spaces, are the places where radon is likely to accumulate to unsafe levels.
How Can You Tell If There Is Radon in the Home?
While you can find a DIY test, it’s always best to hire a professional to test for radon. Many people don’t take action until they have been diagnosed years later with chronic respiratory issues or lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Symptoms will only show up after long-term exposure to high levels over many years.
Some of the signs that you might be suffering from radon exposure and lung cancer include:
- New or persistent cough
- Poor stamina and shortness of breath
- Trouble swallowing
If you have any concerns about radon or lung cancer, make an appointment with your doctor and have your home tested for radon.
What Happens During Radon Testing?
When a professional home inspector tests your home for radon, they will use methods to detect both the short and long-term levels of radon that you are being exposed to. By using a combination of methods, you’ll get the most accurate picture of radon in the home and determine whether you need to take action to reduce radon levels.
Can You Fix Radon in the Home?
There are many different ways to mitigate radon, and it’s best to hire a professional company to make a plan for your home. Fans and vent pipes are great at circulating air in the home and bringing fresh air in. Sealing cracks in the walls and floors of your basement will also help prevent more radon from entering the space. After any remediation measures, have radon testing performed again to verify that levels have been reduced.