Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless, and colorless gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Long term exposure to elevated radon creates an increased risk of lung cancer. Illinois Emergency Management Agency and EPA recommend that radon levels in excess of 4.0 pCi/L be reduced.
Because radon is a gas, it can enter buildings through openings or cracks in the foundation. Radon's primary hazard is caused from inhalation of the gas and its highly radioactive heavy metallic decay products (Polonium, Lead, and Bismuth) which tend to collect on dust in the air. The problem arises when these elements stick to the delicate cells lining the passageways leading into the lungs.
Radon has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States (second only to smoking.) The Environmental Protection Agency reports that radon causes approximately 22,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the United States. Next to smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Some scientific studies of radon exposure indicate that children may be more sensitive to radon. This may be due to their higher respiration rate and their rapidly dividing cells, which may be more vulnerable to radiation damage.
Every home should be tested for radon regardless of where the home is located, the age of the home, foundation type, or whether or not the home is in an area where homes are “prone to having radon problems.” Homes with elevated radon levels have been found in practically every county in the United States. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has established that if a home or building is found to have a radon level of 4 pCi/l or higher, action should be taken to reduce it. In most cases, radon levels can be reduced to 2 pCi/l or lower with the installation of an active (fan-assisted) venting system.
Indoor radon has been judged to be the most serious environmental carcinogen to which the general public is exposed and which the EPA must address.
he alpha radiation emitted by radon is the exact same alpha radiation that is emitted by any other alpha generating radiation source, like plutonium
What is the acceptable level of Radon?
The US EPA has established the "action level" for deciding when you need to "do something" about the radon in your home, school, or work place is 4 pCi/l.
Are there other symptoms or health problems, other than lung cancer that are associated with radon gas exposure?
THERE ARE NO SHORT-TERM RADON EXPOSURE SYMPTOMS that have ever been documented. Also, YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY OTHER bodily symptoms such as joint pain, stomach or intestinal problems, headaches, or rashes from short-term radon exposure at natural environmental levels. The only known (documented) symptoms are the same as those listed here for smoking induced Lung Cancer Symptoms.