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Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. You cannot see, smell or taste radon, but it may be a problem in your home. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, you’re at high risk for developing 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. Radon is not produced as a commercial product. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and comes from the natural breakdown of uranium. It is usually found in igneous rock and soil, but in some cases, well-water may also be a source of radon. The primary routes of potential human exposure to radon are inhalation and ingestion. Radon in the ground, groundwater, or building materials enters working and living spaces and disintegrates into its decay products. Although high concentrations of radon in groundwater may contribute to radon exposure through ingestion, the inhalation of radon released from water is usually more important.
Testing is the only way to know your home’s radon levels. There are no immediate symptoms that will alert you to the presence of radon. It typically takes years of exposure before any problems surface. The EPA, Surgeon General, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, and National Safety Council recommend testing your home for radon because testing is the only way to know your home’s radon levels.
You can fix a radon problem.
If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.
If You Are Selling a Home...
The EPA recommends that you test your home before putting it on the market and, if necessary, lower your radon levels. Save the test results and all information you have about steps that were taken to fix any problems. This could be a positive selling point.
If You Are Buying a Home...
The EPA recommends that you know what the indoor radon level is in any home you are considering buying. If the home has a radon-reduction system, ask the seller for information they have about the system.
Radon is a national environmental health problem. Elevated radon levels have been discovered in every state. The EPA estimates that as many as 8 million homes throughout the country have elevated levels of radon.
Ohio averages 7.8pCi/L. The EPA recommends mitigation above 4.0pCi/L.