Interesting Facts About Radon

danger-radonNowadays it seems as If the media is always looking to frighten people by reporting the latest germ, hazard or diseases. A similar danger that has grabbed media attention these days is radon. In reality, radon is a very harmful gas that can cause lung cancer. Most people underestimate its threats. In simple terms, radon is a gas which is formed by radioactive decay. It is emitted from the soil and can travel inside homes through the air. Moreover, in the United States alone, there are several types of soils that might contain uranium. When the uranium decays it creates polonium and radium. High levels of radon travel through the air in the outdoors and make its way inside buildings and homes. Radon cannot be detected as it is colorless, odorless and tasteless. According to several reports published by the United States EPA, it was revealed that approximately 21,000 people die every year due to lung cancer which is caused by radon gas. After smoking, radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer. A couple of years ago, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, a U.S. surgeon general issued public health advisory on radon.

On the other hand, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United Stated Surgeon General have proposed that every home should be tested for radon gas. Moreover, they proposed that schools and colleges should also be tested for radon. The EPA states that radon level below 4pci/l is safe. Radon level above 4pci/l is considered to be dangerous and the house owners should immediately take precautionary actions in order to reduce the overall radon level. Furthermore, the EPA suggests that home owners should hire the services of qualified radon testers to in order to lower the radon levels in their homes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are a few radon reduction systems that can help to lower the overall levels of radon in household or bring down existing levels of radon gas to acceptable levels.

radon-gasThe World Health organization has said that radon is becoming a big health issue globally and serious actions are needed to be taken. In a statement WHO’s Dr. Maria Neira said that most lung cancer patients develop cancer from exposure to medium levels of radon in their homes. On the contrary, according to EPA there are a number of ways in which radon can enter any building, office, school, restaurant etc. Radon gas can enter via cracks in solid floors, spaces in walls, gaps in floors and doors, water pipes and broken roof tops.

Common Description of Radon

  • Radon is a highly dangerous gas that can have devastating effects on human beings. It usually enters home by traveling in air. The gas is extremely hard to detect as it occurs via natural process and is also colorless and odorless. Low living areas and home basements are the places where radon levels are typically high. Meanwhile, radon usually becomes heavy at room temperature and in places where temperature is below freezing point radon changes color and turns into a luminous phosphorescent yellow.  Normally, some soils and ground water contain the highest levels of radon.


Scientific Description Of Radon And Its Features

  • Radon is a gas which causes lung cancer. Despite the fact that you can’t see or feel radon, it is still present in your home. Moreover, the U.S. Surgeon General has revealed that after smoking, radon gas is the second biggest cause of developing lung cancer. Smokers who smoke at home have more chances of developing lung cancer as radon gas at home combined with cigarette smoke can have devastating effects on the human body. Furthermore, some studies have also revealed that children are more receptive to radon probably because of their breathing rate.
  • Another feature of radon is that it easily dissolves in organic solvents and water. It is considered to be a noble gas that transpires in numerous isotopic forms. Only 2 forms of radon namely radon220 and radon 222 are found in large concentrations in the environment we live in. Radon 220 is created by the decay of thorium 232 whereas radon 222 is formed in the decay process of uranium 238.Radon 222 is the gas which is most commonly found in the human environment.


Use Of Radon

  • There are several spas in U.S.A that use radon for supposed medical effects. Moreover, radon is also used to start and manipulate chemical reactions.

Production Of Radon

  • One thing that needs to be clarified about radon is that it is not produced as a commercial commodity. It is formed by a natural process which cannot be controlled. Radon is most commonly discovered in soil and rock. Well water is also considered to be a source of this harmful gas.


  • There are only 2 ways in which humans are exposed to radon, eating and breathing. Radon in building materials and groundwater makes its way into the living and working environment and splits up into it’s decompose products. Compared to ingestion inhalation of radon is relatively more harmful.

Radon In Your Working Environment

  • Humans that work in areas including buildings and mines are at a more risk of developing radon related health issues. Radon which is formed from soils and rock can cause manifold radon concentrations in power stations, spas, public baths and tunnels.  According to some reports, it has been confirmed that radon levels are much higher in areas such as mines compared to houses or buildings. Numerous workers depending on their occupation are exposed to different levels of radon gas. As mentioned earlier, radon is colorless and tasteless hence it can only be detected by doing a few tests. The EPA suggests all new home purchasers to get their potential homes tested for radon before acquiring the home.

Devices That Are Used To Test Radon

  • Generally there are only two radon test devices namely active and passive. Passive devices do not need electricity to operate and they usually trap radon which is later examined carefully in a lab. Some of the passive devices are alpha track detectors, charcoal liquid scintillation detectors and charcoal canisters.

4 Responses to Interesting Facts About Radon

  1. tammy farenga says:

    found out our vacation home has a radon level of 6.4 have had the home since april of 2010 and i was recently diagnosed with nonsmall cell lung cancer in july 2012. do you think this could have caused my lung cancer and is it possible to fix our radon problem or should we walk away from our vacation home? was going to move there permanently until recently finding this out.

    • Colin Luthor says:

      Hi Tammy very sorry to hear about the cancer. It can really take some time for Radon to cause damage, so I would think without knowing all your details it was prob not from the vacation home. In most situations a radon system will fix all the radon issues. Just make sure you get a quality licensed contractor to do it. Make sure they have done them before and show you before and afters. Ask for references as well. Good luck with you situation. Stay strong, think positive.

  2. Janice says:

    Yikes this is scary stuff. How do I go about getting a test done????

    • Colin Luthor says:

      Hey Janice honestly your first step would be to do a at home do it yourself kit. You can walk into any local hardware store, Home Depot, Lowes etc… and grab one for about $10-20. Follow the instructions. Usually you just place it in your basement for a few days. Then you send if off to a lab which can cost anywhere from $25-$50. I would wait and see what the results from that are. If they are very low, you are prob OK, but if they are close to or above 4pci/l they you will want to call in a professional to do a more thorough test. Or… you can just go straight for the professional, but it will cost a bit more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *