Radon

Is Radon a Serious Health Risk?

› Radon is a gas that you cannot see, smell or taste, but it may a problem in your home.
› Just like smoking, breathing radon can cause a lung disease: lung cancer.
› Homes with radon problems can be fixed.

Radon...

› is estimated to cause thousands of deaths per year
› is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States; smoking remains the primary cause.
› is estimated to be a health risk in as many as one in fifteen homes throughout the country.
› is estimated to be a health risk in as many as one in fifteen homes throughout the country.
› is deadly, and its health risks grow dramatically with the length of exposure, and with cigarette smoking.

What is Radon?

Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in soil. rock, and water. It is formed by natural breakdown of radium, which is a radioactive product of decaying uranium.

As radon decays into radioactive particles and is inhaled into the lungs, energy is released that can damage sensitive lung tissue and lead to lung cancer. The small bursts of energy released from particles trapped in the lungs are like being exposed to hundreds of chest x-rays every year.

The longer your exposure or the higher the level of radon in your home, the greater the risk.

The amount of radon in the air is measured in "picocuries per liter of air" or "pCi/L". The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recommended action guideline level is 4 pCi/L.

Where is Radon Found?

High levels of radon have been found in every state. Radon gas rises up through porous soil under a home or building, and enters through gaps and cracks in the foundation and through pipes, drains, walls, or other openings.

Why Should You Be Concerned?

Exposure to radon in combination with cigarette smoking significantly increases the risk of lung cancer. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high. The EPA has a chart available that will help you assess your risk.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Radon?

Because you cannot see, smell or taste radon, testing is the only way to know if you are at risk. Testing is easy and inexpensive. Special detection kits, with easy to follow instructions, can be purchased at some local hardware stores or by mail order. The Health Department has test kits available at all locations. For more information, call (231) 547-6523.

Short-term tests and long-term tests both measure radon levels in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The average indoor level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L; 0.4 pCi/L of radon is typically found in the outside air. Action should be take to reduce levels if the test results indicate an annual average radon level of 4 pCi/L or higher.

Once a radon problem has been identified, it can be corrected. Most homes can be fixed for the same cost as other common home repairs › approximately $500.00 to $2500.00. To reduce the radon level, always consult EPA-qualified or state-certified radon contractors.

To protect yourself and your family from lung cancer, in addition to not smoking, test your home for radon.