What is Radon (Rn)?

radonRadon (Rn) is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. The technical or scientific definition – It is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas, occurring naturally as an indirect decay product of uranium or thorium. Radon is one of the densest substances that remains a gas under normal conditions. It is also the only gas under normal conditions that only has radioactive isotopes, and is considered a health hazard due to its radioactivity.

Radon comes from the natural decay of uranium – uranium is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Both new and old homes can have a Radon problem. In fact, Any home may be affected by this gas – this means well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.

Radon from soil gas is the main cause of radon problems. Sometimes it enters the home through well water. In a small number of homes, the building materials can give off radon as well. However, building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves.

Rn GETS IN THROUGH:radon_home

  • Cracks in solid floors
  • Construction joints
  • Cracks in walls
  • Gaps in suspended floors
  • Gaps around service pipes
  • Cavities inside walls
  • The water supply

Why should we care about Radon?

According to the EPA Exposure to radon in the home is responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. That’s because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

Should you test for Rn?

Testing is the only way to know your home’s radon levels. There are no immediate symptoms that will alert you to its presence. It typically takes years of exposure before any problems surface.

EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. EPA also recommends testing in schools. Testing is inexpensive and easy — it should only take a few minutes of your time. Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for Rn. See ‘How to test Radon’

How to Lower the Radon Levels in Your Home

There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known as a soil suction radon reduction system, does not require major changes to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes this kind of system more effective and cost-efficient. Similar systems can also be installed in houses with crawl spaces.

Ways to reduce Rn in your home are discussed in EPA’s “Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction.”