The radioactive gas known as radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the nation. It is odorless and colorless so you cannot know whether your home is infested or not. It’s hard to tell whether the air you breathe or water you drink is already infected.

That is why radon testing in Provo, Memphis, Orlando, or wherever you are in the U.S. Let’s take a closer look at radon and why it’s important to have our homes tested.

What is radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from decaying uranium in the ground. What makes it more dangerous is it has no color, no smell, and no taste, meaning without the right equipment, you wouldn’t know if you’re already being exposed to it.

Radon is known to creep into houses, whether old or new. Its concentration is usually higher during winter and nighttime when the windows are closed.

How do you run a radon test?

In most cases, before homes are turned over to new owners or tenants, they are tested for radon. However, a one-time test is not enough to guarantee a radon-free home as radon levels vary from house to house and place to place. Fortunately, there are plenty of professionals and experts that hire out their services for radon testing. You may choose to go that route or you can DIY it.

You can perform a short-term test (2 to 3 days) or a long-term test (usually around 90 days). A short-term test will require you to close your windows and doors as much as possible. Do not use or bring in any fan that brings in air from the outside. You also will need the following devices to conduct the test: alpha-track detectors, charcoal canisters, electret ion chambers, charcoal liquid scintillation detectors, and continuous monitors. A long-term test, on the other hand, measures radon over 90 days. Radon emissions vary day by day so long-term testing will get you more accurate results.

How harmful is it to one’s health?

Prolonged exposure to radon is hazardous to one’s health. Radon poisoning is a serious matter. In fact, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer (for non-smokers, the main cause).

If we take into consideration smoking as the main cause of lung cancer, about 14% of lung cancers in the country are radon-related, with a rough estimate of 21,000 lives claimed each year. Smokers are at an even greater risk as they are 25 times more prone to lung cancer with radon concentration exposure.

Some early signs and symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • Persistent coughing and/or coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Chest pains as you laugh or cough
  • Recurring sicknesses and infections like pneumonia and bronchitis
  • Loss of appetite and  weight
  • Fatigue

While radon is natural and is part of our environment, it generally isn’t dangerous. However, long-term and over-exposure to the gas can be hazardous, even lethal. Radon testing is fairly inexpensive and is easy to do. Don’t put yourself and others at risk.

Avi Aranb