What is radon?
Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is produced by naturally decaying uranium and radium.
How does radon induce lung cancer?
Exposure to radon gas increases your risk of developing lung cancer. Radon gas and its decay products in the air can be breathed into the lungs where they break down further and emit alpha particles. Alpha particles release a small burst of energy, which is absorbed by nearby lung tissue. This results in lung cell damage.
Is there a safe level of radon?
Your risk of developing lung cancer from radon depends on the concentration of radon in the air you breathe and the length of time you are exposed. While radon is common outdoors, it is diluted to very low levels and is not a concern. However, radon that enters an enclosed space, such as a home, can sometimes accumulate to high levels. EPA's recommended action guideline level for radon is four Picocuries per liter of air (4.0 pCi/L). The average indoor level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L; and 0.4 pCi/L of radon is found in the outside air.
Where can radon be found?
Radon is produced by naturally decaying uranium and radium. Uranium and radium is naturally found in soil and rock throughout the world. It is typically concentrated in areas with lots of granite, shale, phosphate, and pitchblende. Radon gas is drawn into homes or buildings through cracks in the foundation or slab and through unsealed pipes, sumps, drains, walls and other openings such as crawl spaces.
The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest provides radon education through licensing courses and other programs. For more information about radon visit HealthHouse.org.
Purchasing a Radon Test Kit
The ALAUM offers short-term and long-term test kits to homeowners. Short-term test kits are available for $15 and long-term test kits are available for $25. Click here to purchase a short-term or long-term test kit.
Placement of a Radon Test Kit
Click here for the "Short-term Radon Test Kit - Steps for Testing" video.