Unfortunately, the short answer is yes. In fact, it’s the leading cause of cancer for nonsmokers in the United States. For smokers, radon comes in second and contributes to an already-dangerous health situation. Radon comes from the soil as uranium breaks down in nature. Found everywhere in the world, radon levels can vary depending on the geographical location in which you live. You can’t see, smell, or taste radon, which makes it impossible to detect without a radon test.
Our experienced professionals at Synergy Home want to protect you and your family from this cancer-causing gas. If you live in Lexington, we can help you with radon testing and mitigation services.
HOW DOES RADON CAUSE CANCER?
Because radon breaks down quickly, it creates minute radioactive particles that can float through the air. When you inhale these particles, they negatively affect the cells in your lungs. Over a long period of time, this damage can cause lung cancer.
HOW HIGH ARE MY RISKS?
According to the National Cancer Institute, roughly 15,000 to 22,000 people die each year due to radon-related lung cancer. Your risks increase significantly if you are a smoker and exposed to radon. In fact, your risk is greater than either smoking or radon alone.
Since children’s lungs are still developing and they have a faster respiration rate than adults, radon can be more dangerous for the youngest members of your family.
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DO ANY VARIABLES LOWER MY RISK OF RADON-RELATED CANCER?
Since radon occurs naturally throughout the world, you can’t escape it. Every state in the United States including Kentucky has reported high levels of radon in homes. The levels may vary somewhat; studies show that anywhere between 7 and 30 percent of homes have elevated radon levels. Unfortunately, Central Kentucky is on the higher end of that range, with one in three homes having radon issues.
Radon can move through most building materials, such as brick and mortar, as well leak into a home through cracks, crevices, and other gaps. That means all homes are vulnerable, whether they be old, new, drafty, or sealed.
If you happen to live and work in higher levels of buildings or spend more time on the second or third floor of your home, you may reduce your risk somewhat as underground spaces and basements do increase risk.
WHAT CAN I DO TO ELIMINATE MY RISK?
It’s simple to eliminate your radon risk by conducting a short- or long-term radon test. These test kits are widely available and easy to conduct. The recommended radon level is below 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), but you may want to consider mitigation services if you detect any radon in your home at all.
Professionals can help implement a radon mitigation plan, which may involve an active soil depressurization system. This effort extracts radon from the soil, which keeps it outside and not slowly leaking into your home. Various ventilation systems may also be recommended to remove the existing radon.
Retesting is easy and necessary. First, a retest will show if your mitigation efforts were successful. Second, retesting can put your mind at ease that further breakdown of uranium in your soil has not created additional radon leaks. It’s wise to retest every three years and after major renovation projects like installing a new HVAC system.