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
Zone 1 = 4pCi/L or higher | Zone 2 = 2-4 pCi/L | Zone 3 = less than 2 pCi/L

Radon Levels
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
Radon Exposure Equivalents

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.