Radon: What You Need to Know About This Indoor Contaminant

House living room

Air pollution inside your home can pose a serious health threat to members of your family. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that the levels of many types of pollutants in the air may be higher in an indoor environment than the outdoors by up to five times.

One source of indoor air pollution is radon, a naturally occurring gas that is found to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after smoking. As uranium decays, it emits radioactive radon gas and your home may have it. That is why you should look into radon testing services in Utah so you can take appropriate action to protect your family.

Here’s a closer look at radon and what you can do to reduce your family’s exposure to it:

Where does radon in the home come from?

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, the most common source of radon in the home is uranium in the rock or soil on which a home is constructed. As uranium undergoes the natural process of decay, it breaks down into radium, which then releases an odorless, colorless, tasteless, and radioactive gas called radon. Radon gets into homes through sumps, floor drains, dirt and basement floors, as well as cracks in floors and concrete walls.

What are the effects of radon on health?

When radon gets trapped in the home and its concentrations increase, exposure to it can cause a serious health problem, particularly lung cancer. Estimates from the EPA show that exposure to radon causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year; deaths that could have been prevented.

Smokers who live in a home with high levels of radon are especially at risk of developing lung cancer. Even those who have never lit a cigarette are at risk—the EPA approximates that around 2,900 of people who died of radon-related lung cancer have never smoked.

What can you do to protect your family from radon exposure?

If your home has been found to have high levels of radon, the EPA recommends choosing a state-certified or qualified radon mitigation contractor immediately. The contractor will work with you to do a variety of repair work, such as changing the air flow, so radon doesn’t get trapped, and sealing cracks in walls and floors.

Once the work is completed, make sure you keep your radon reduction system well-maintained to ensure your family’s safety from the harmful effects of radon.