What is Radon?
Basic Radon Info
- Radon is a radioactive gas that enters the home through cracks and imperfections of the home
- Radioactive particles that are produced can be ingested
- When ionized radiation comes in contact with DNA it can damage or alter DNA
- Through long-term exposure to these radioactive particles it can cause severe lung damage and even cause lung cancer
- Radon is estimated to kill 21,000 Americans per year
- Children and smokers are at an increased risk
U.s. Epa zones
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends radon mitigation for homes with 4 pCi/L or higher (World Health Organization recommends 2.7 pCi/L or higher)
- 1 of 15 homes in the United States have radon levels 4 pCi/L or higher (1 of 3 homes in some states)
- Most of Virginia is at high risk of having high radon levels
Dangers - Lung
- Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer (only behind smoking)
- The lung damage received per day while living in a home with radon levels of 4 pCi/L is equivalent to smoking 8-10 cigarettes per day
- The lung damage received per year while living in a home with radon levels of 4 pCi/L is equivalent to smoking about 3,000 cigarettes per year
Dangers - radiation
- Radon is the largest source of natural background radiation for Americans
- The radiation dosage received per year while living in a home with radon levels of 4 pCi/L is equivalent to 100 chest X-rays (most hospitals only allow 4 per visit)
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Radon?
- Radon is a radioactive gas. Radioactive alpha particles are produced from radon decaying. The alpha particles that are produced can cause damage to the lungs and cause lung cancer.
- Does my home have Radon?
- Every home has radon. The important thing to know is how much radon is in your home.
- How does it enter my home?
- Radon enters the home through the cracks and imperfections of the home.
- How do I find out my Radon concentration level?
- There are several methods for radon testing. These methods can be performed by the homeowner or by a certified professional for a certified test (required for some realty transactions).
- What is an acceptable level of Radon?
- There is NO safe level of radon. Consider mitigation at 2-4 pCi/L. Mitigation should be performed at 4 pCi/L or higher.
- Are children at a higher risk?
- Risk for children is 2x higher than an adult. If children are also exposed to tobacco smoke, the risk of getting lung cancer increases at least 20 times.
- Are smokers at a higher risk?
- Yes, smokers are 7x more likely to develop lung cancer with high radon exposure (vs non-smokers with high radon exposure).
- What do I do if I have a high Radon level?
- To lower the radon concentration in the home, a radon mitigation system should be installed in the home.
- Why is Radon so dangerous?
- Radon decay produces alpha particles, which is 20x more dangerous than other types of radiation. It also impacts the lungs, which is a much softer and more sensitive organ.
Sources and Extra Information
- United States Environmental Protection Agency:
- U.S. E.P.A. guides:
- World Health Organization:
- National Center for Biotechnology Information:
- United Nation Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation:
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry