Your Health is Important

Find out about Radon and how we can help you and your family stay safe.

What is Radon?

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It forms naturally from the decay (breaking down) of radioactive elements, such as uranium, which are found in different amounts in soil and rock throughout the world. Radon gas in the soil and rock can move into the air and into underground water and surface water.

Radon is present outdoors and indoors. It is normally found at very low levels in outdoor air and in drinking water from rivers and lakes. It can be found at higher levels in the air in houses and other buildings, as well as in water from underground sources, such as well water.

Radon breaks down into solid radioactive elements called radon progeny (such as polonium-218, polonium-214, and lead-214). Radon progeny can attach to dust and other particles and can be breathed into the lungs. As radon and radon progeny in the air break down, they give off radiation that can damage the DNA inside the body’s cells.

how are people exposed to radon?

For both adults and children, most exposure to radon comes from being indoors in homes, offices, schools, and other buildings. The levels of radon in homes and other buildings depend on the characteristics of the rock and soil in the area. As a result, radon levels vary greatly in different parts of the United States, sometimes even within neighborhoods. Elevated radon levels have been found in every state.

floor cracks & crawl space

Radon levels are usually highest in the basement or crawl space. This level is closest to the soil or rock that is the source of the radon.

shower well water

Water that comes from deep, underground wells in rock may have higher levels of radon.

floor-wall joints

Almost any building material made from natural substances, including concrete and wallboard, may give off some level of radon.

fractured bedrock

Radon gases can emanate from fractured bedrock and into your soil which can travel up into your home if there are any cracks.

HOW DOES RADON ENTER YOUR HOME?

Radon gas given off by soil or rock can enter buildings through cracks in floors or walls; construction joints; or gaps in foundations around pipes, wires, or pumps. Radon levels are usually highest in the basement or crawl space. This level is closest to the soil or rock that is the source of the radon.

 

Therefore, people who spend much of their time in basement rooms at home or at work have a greater risk for being exposed.

For more information on Radon, visit 

EPA Health Risk of Radon 

Sourced from EPA and American Cancer Society

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CAN RADON CAUSE CANCER?

Being exposed to radon for a long period of time can lead to lung cancer. Radon gas in the air breaks down into tiny radioactive elements (radon progeny) that can lodge in the lining of the lungs, where they can give off radiation. This radiation can damage lung cells and eventually lead to lung cancer.

Cigarette smoking is by far the most common cause of lung cancer in the United States, but radon is the second leading cause. Scientists estimate that about 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year are related to radon.

Exposure to the combination of radon gas and cigarette smoke creates a greater risk for lung cancer than either factor alone. Most radon-related lung cancers develop in smokers. However, radon is also thought to cause a significant number of lung cancer deaths among non-smokers in the United States each year.