Radon gas poisoning kills many thousands of people every year. It is now the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Only smoking cigarettes causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your house has very high levels of radon gas, then your risk of lung cancer is much higher.
Radon is found throughout the United States. You can’t see, smell or taste it. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon gets into any building, home, office or school and can build to high levels of concentration.
The home is the most likely place to get radon poisoning because that’s where you spend most of your time. Radon from the soil is the main cause of radon poisoning, but it can also enter the house through well water.
The only way to know if you and your family are at risk of radon poisoning is to have your home tested for radon. The Environmental Protection Agency strongly recommends that all homes should be tested. Apartments and condos below the third floor should also be tested. It’s a very easy test that takes only a few minutes and is inexpensive to do. Millions of American homes have been tested for radon gas. Radon testing kits can be found online and in many hardware stores.
Contact your state officials for more information about radon in your area. Radon problems may be more common in some areas than others, but, any home can have a problem with radon gas. It’s a very good idea for home buyers and renters to ask about radon levels of the house before they buy or rent a home.
Most public water supplies do not have a radon problem, but if the air in your home has tested positive for radon gas and you have well water, you should have the water tested by a lab certified to measure radon in water.
There is no known safe level of radon gas. There can always be some level of risk. But, the risk can be lowered by sealing cracks in floors and walls. Simple systems of using fans can also help in reducing radon gas when it is found in the home. After any major renovations, the house should be retested again to make sure the levels have not increased.
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