Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that results from the decay
of uranium in clay soil. When radon breaks down, its decay products can be
inhaled, presenting a health hazard. The potential danger of radon in your
home may remain hidden because radon is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.
Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and concentrates
in a home or building through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Any
building can contain radon, whether the building is old or new, well-sealed
or drafty, with or without basements. Radon gets into the building through:
- cracks in solid floors
- construction joints
- cracks in walls
- gaps in suspended floors
- gaps around service pipes
- cavities inside walls
- the water supply.
Radon is one of the second leading causes of lung cancer, following smoking.
Smoking and radon exposure together greatly increase lung cancer risk.
- Test your home. Testing is the only accurate way to determine radon
levels. The U.S. EPA strongly recommendsthat all buildings be tested for
radon. Follow instructions carefully when testing. It's better to test in
the winter when the building is closed up.
- Use experts to fix the problem. U.S.
EPA recommends that you use a qualified contractor or mitigator to fix
your building because lowering high radon levels requires specific technical
knowledge and special skills. Without the proper equipment or technical
knowledge, you actually could increase your radon level or create other
potential hazards. But, if you decide to do the work yourself, get information
and appropriate training courses and copies of U.S. EPA's technical guidance
documents. The state also can provide guidance on choosing a state-certified
radon mitigator. These mitigators use a variety of methods to reduce radon,
such as sealing cracks in floors and walls and installing pipes and fans.
Retest after radon mitigation to ensure your levels have dropped.
- To Learn more about radon from health risks, testing, and mitigation
look at this EPA site: www.epa.gov/iaq/radon/pubs/index.html.
Children's Environmental Health