What is Radon Gas?
Radon is a radioactive gas that cannot be seen, felt, tasted, or smelled since it is radioactive. It all starts with uranium, a heavy element that can be found in the ground and in the majority of rocks on the globe. When uranium decays, it transforms into radium, which is a different metal. When radium decays, it transforms into radon gas.
Radon gas escapes from the earth and becomes a constituent of the atmosphere and water. It is possible that it is present in the air around you, although it is normally present in very minute concentrations that are not hazardous.
Radon is a carcinogen that can cause health concerns in high concentrations. Despite the fact that it is a naturally occurring gas that originates from the soil, it can be harmful if inhaled in large quantities over an extended period of time. However, there are several reliable methods for keeping your exposure to a minimum.
What Impact Does the Radon Have on Your Health?
When you inhale radon, it penetrates the lining of your lungs and begins to emit radioactive particles. Lung cancer can develop if the cells in the lungs are damaged over a lengthy period of time.
After cigarette smoking, radon is the second most common cause of lung cancer in the US.The likelihood of developing lung cancer increases dramatically when you inhale large amounts of radon and tobacco.
Every year, around 21,000 people succumb to lung cancer as a result of exposure to radon. However, there has been some studies linking radon to other types of cancer, such as juvenile leukemia, but the evidence for this is less conclusive.
Are there any symptoms of radon exposure to look out for?
You will not experience signs of radon contamination immediately. Instead, health concerns associated with the exposure, such as lung cancer, manifest themselves years or even decades later.
It is possible that lung cancer will begin as a persistent cough, shortness of breath, or wheezing that does not go away. Other signs and symptoms include coughing up blood, experiencing chest pain, and losing weight without attempting to do so. If you observe any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor immediately.
There are no normal medical tests that can tell you if you've taken in an excessive amount of radon in your breath. And there are no treatments that will remove it from your body. However, if you believe you may have been exposed, speak with your doctor about whether you should undergo tests to check for signs of lung cancer before proceeding further.
How Do You Know If You're Exposed to Radon?
Homes, schools, and offices are constructed into the ground by digging down into the soil. Because radon can escape from the earth through fractures in floors or walls, as well as minor openings for pipes or cables that are not completely sealed, it can enter the home. Despite the fact that radon can become trapped in any confined space, basements and crawl spaces frequently have the greatest amounts because they are the closest to the ground. According to experts, almost one in every fifteen households in the United States has excessive levels of radon.
A number of building materials, such as concrete and wallboard, are manufactured from naturally occurring chemicals that emit radon. Granite countertops are a good example of this. However, the amount of radiation emitted by these sources is often insignificant. They may cause the radon level in your home to rise, though it is unlikely that it will reach deadly levels.
Working underground or with phosphate fertilizers may expose you to radon, which is particularly dangerous if you work with a radon detector.
Radon can also be found in water that originates from lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, but the vast majority of it is released into the atmosphere before the water reaches your home or workplace. If your water comes from a well or another groundwater source, it may have a higher radon content than water that comes from a treatment plant.
What Should I Do to Protect Myself?
A radon kit can be used to test the levels of radon in your home or office. Some will only measure levels for a few days, while others can collect data for up to three months or more. You leave a small measuring device in a room for a short period of time before sending it to a lab. You can also engage a professional to conduct a test in your house or place of business on your behalf. The Environmental Protection Agency maintains a list of approved contractors in each state, which can be found on their website.
Picocuries are the units of measurement for radon. Anything greater than 4 picocuries, or 4 picocuries per liter of liquid, necessitates action. To be sure, repeat the short- or long-term tests if you receive these results. Contact a licensed specialist about making repairs to your house or place of business if the levels are still high. This may entail sealing cracks or building a ventilation system to prevent radon from becoming trapped within the home.