Radon: Hype or Real Danger

| 7/23/2015 2:48:00 PM

Country MoonThere is no smooth sailing through life anymore, so it seems. There is always something that poses a new danger to your health or needs your attention on some level. Some of these issues are cut and dry while others are not so black and white. This is the case with radon.

Radon is a tasteless, odorless gas that is formed from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium. It is usually found in igneous rocks and soil, which is one of the three main types of rocks. It has been detected in all states and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 8 million homes have elevated levels and current surveys suggest one of five homes have the problem.

The problem with radon is that it is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. Everyone seems to agree on this fact. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. If this is the case, why isn’t everyone running out and testing their homes?

It’s because there is more to it than just that statement and the statement itself is misleading. First of all, when radon is inhaled it does not stay in the lungs, but is exhaled. The problem is the atoms of radon attach themselves to dust particles that stay in the lungs, thus the lungs are exposed to radiation for longer intervals.

This is why workers whose livelihood took them to underground locations such as mines, tunnels and caves were more likely to be affected by the concentration of gases down there. For the normal person, it usually takes years of exposure before any problems present themselves.

Whether a person is a smoker or not plays an important role also. The disease rates rise drastically in ever-smokers, which are classified as anyone who has ever smoked regardless of how long they smoked or for how long they have quit. In these cases it is hard to tell what percentage of the disease is due to the radon and how much is due to smoking.

7/24/2015 6:53:17 AM

Lois, yes, radon is a hot topic these days. A friend of mine in the business said that every house has radon, it's just a matter of how much. In my state the home owner can't deal with it on their own. A certified contractor has to install the ventilation system. I've not heard about the spray so I don't think it's allowed here in Nebraska. In my humble opinion, I believe radon levels became an issue when the houses became more air tight to conserve utility heating and cooling expenses. Carbon monoxide and radon levels became a thing to be monitored because of no way to escape. Every improvement in efficiency seems to have another issue to deal with. ***** Have a great radon elimination day.

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