As a homeowner, you want your living spaces to be safe and healthy. A common concern of some homebuyers is radon gas. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, following cigarette smoking. Dangerous levels of radon gas in the home can lead to long-term health complications. Here are a few important things to know about radon.
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when uranium and other radioactive materials break down in the earth. Radon may be found in soil, rocks, and even water. The gas is colorless and odorless, making it impossible to detect without a test. It becomes dangerous in high concentrations, for example when it accumulates on the lower floor of a home.
Dangers of Radon Gas in the Home
Because of its radioactive nature, radon is a danger to lung tissue.
This gas seeps up through the soil and into homes through crevices like construction joints and cracks in floors and walls. Gaps in electrical ducts and service pipes also may act as entry points.
Once inside your home, it mixes with the air you breathe, exposing your lungs to radiation. Long-term exposure to radon can be fatal. As your lungs are exposed to small amounts of radiation, the cells are damaged, increasing the chances of a lung cancer diagnosis.
Avoiding exposure to high levels of radon gas for extended periods of time will decrease the likelihood of health complications related to the gas.
Keeping Your Home Safe From Radon Gas
Nonsmokers aren’t typically on the lookout for signs of lung cancer. As a result, they often get the diagnosis much later, after the disease has progressed.
To protect your family from the dangers of radon gas, hire a professional to test your home. Short-term tests can take between 2 and 90 days. However, long-term tests are more accurate as they account for daily variations in radon concentration in the air.
If high levels are found in your home, look into mitigation measures that will reduce the presence of the gas. A radon expert can create a system to move the gas out of your home and reduce the concentration in your living spaces.
Radon is found throughout the United States, so experts recommend that all households test for it. Hire a professional for the most accurate results, as a pro understands how to administer and read the test. Even if you ordered a radon test when you purchased the home, it’s important to test regularly to make sure your house is safe.