If you have recently purchased a home, you may have had the house tested for radon. In fact, the EPA recommends testing for radon, especially below the third floor, before buying any home. While you may not think that exposure to a single element could be that bad, both the EPA and the Surgeon General have offered warnings about the gas, which is radioactive and highly toxic. So, what is radon, what makes it so dangerous, and what steps can homeowners take to ensure their families aren't exposed? Read on to find out.
What Is Radon, and Why Is It Bad?
Radon wasn't discovered until 1899 but was quickly identified as a hazard. It is colorless, tasteless and odorless (just like carbon monoxide) and occurs naturally when the uranium in soil, rock or and water breaks down and enters the air. It is not specific to one area and elevated levels of radon have been found in homes all over the United States.
Radon can cause cancer in smokers and non-smokers alike and is especially harmful to children. The EPA estimates around 21,000 radon-related lung cancer deaths per year, making indoor radon the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the No. 1 cause among non-smokers. Because radon enters the bloodstream when inhaled, the resulting radiation dose can spread to other areas as well, meaning that radon can occasionally cause other types of cancer as well.
When radon is released into the air outside, it can enter your home through cracks or holes (which are not always visible) and can become trapped once inside. You can also be exposed to radon through your drinking water. With one in 15 homes potentially exposed to unacceptable levels of radon, it's imperative you regularly ensure that your home and water supply are radon-free.
How Homeowners Can Protect Themselves
Identifying radon in your home by yourself is incredibly difficult, even with extensive research. Remember, radon cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, and there are no symptoms of exposure. Additionally, testing kits can take 90 days or more, leaving you and your family potentially exposed. Working with home inspection professionals with years of experience is the safest, quickest way to make sure your home is safe from radon exposure.
It is also important to note that each home must be tested individually. State or even neighborhood radon testing cannot help you predict the radon levels in your home. Your next door neighbor's home may have a wholly different indoor radon level than your house.
You don't want any doubt when it comes to the health and safety of your loved ones. If you're concerned about radon exposure, make sure to contact the qualified professionals at Inspect-All today.