What is Radon Gas and What are the Harmful Effects?
Radon gas is a natural element that happens to have a bad
side to it. Where it all starts is with uranium. This
element naturally occurs in the soil all over the globe.
What happens is that uranium decays into thorium and radium,
which in turn decays into radon. Thatís where it gets bad -
radon is a radioactive gas that moves through the soil
whenever and however it feels like it.
The way it gets into your home is quite a complex issue.
The air in your house is rising continuously. At the lower
levels, it mimics a warm air balloon and rises to the top.
It pushes against the walls, leaking out. A vacuum is
created at the lower levels, as air leaves the basement.
This allows the underground air to sort of be sucked into
the house. Around 20% of the air in your home gets drawn in
from the ground in this manner.
Radon Gas: A Real Health Concern
As radon decays, it produces a tiny little alpha
particle, which is a type of radiation. Unfortunately, it
leaves a small "burn" in your lung (which damages the DNA)
when you breathe it. This damaged DNA replicates and is
much more susceptible to carcinogen invasion. How damaging
can this be for you? One out of 140 non smokers exposed to 4
pCi/L of radon over their lifetime can get lung cancer as a
result. If you smoke, it becomes 1 in 16.
So how many people are we talking about on an annual
basis? 15,000 to 20,000 people in the U.S alone.
Why is this number so high? Because 1 in 15 U.S. homes
has a radon gas problem. Thatís a really high number.
Thankfully, something can be done about its harmful effects.
Even better, you can take preventative measures to
the presence of radon gas in your home.