Many people have only heard of radon because they had to do a radon inspection to buy or sell a home. Most do not realize radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that exists in EVERY home, and homes with high levels of radon can present very real dangers to your health. Radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer (smoking is the leading cause). According to the National Cancer Institute, scientists estimate 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year are related to radon exposure.
How can you be exposed to radon?
Radon is present in all air you breathe in small levels. The concern is extended exposure to concentrated levels of radon in enclosed spaces. Radon emits from rock and soil to enter homes through cracks in foundations, floors and walls. Typically, radon levels run higher in basements, but homes without basements are at risk too.
How does radon cause cancer?
Radon rapidly decays, releasing radioactive particles into the air. When inhaled, these particles damage cells in the lung. This risk is associated with long-term exposure to high levels of radon. Exposure to smoke and/or other existing lung diseases compounded with radon exposure may increase risk.
How do you know if your home is safe?
Since radon is has no smell or taste and is invisible, testing is the only way to determine the level of radon in your home. Short- and long-term test kits are available. For more accurate testing results, you can have your home tested by a Certified Radon Professional.
What if your home has elevated radon levels?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends action to remove radon if levels test at or above 4 pCi/L. In the Kansas City area, radon is elevated in every one of three homes, on average. Should your home test for dangerous levels of radon, installation of a radon mitigation system is recommended to remove the carcinogen.