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What is radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas (periodic element Rn) produced naturally by the breakdown of uranium. It is often present in the soil and in water and can seep into any dwelling through cracks and holes in the foundation. It has no smell or color but can have a big impact on the quality of air inside a home.

How serious is radon?

Behind smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and accounts for roughly 10% of all cases. People with homes that have high radon levels and those who sleep or spend a long time in basements with detectable but moderate levels should consider taking protective measures. A cumulative long-term exposure to radon also increases the danger. Most people move an average of 10 or 11 times over their lifetime, so the risk of developing lung cancer through radon exposure is very low, even for those who lived for a while in areas with high radon levels.

How can I protect my home against radon?

People concerned about radon in their home or area can purchase a test approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. One way to remove radon is by installing a radon mitigation system that suctions gasses present in your soil out of your house. It should be noted, however, that home prevention measures rarely reduce radon levels to zero. In fact, the EPA recommends taking action only when the radon level in your home exceeds 4 pCi/L.

Learn more about the radon from A.D.A.M.'s responsive Wellness Tools located within our SmartEngage product. In addition, the US Environmental Protection Agency website is a good source for ways to measure and mitigate radon in your home. If you have more questions Ask A Doctor. If you are interested in licensing our content, please contact us.

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