The Hidden Killer In Your House - Radon Gas Poisioning

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With the onset of colder weather, families are spending more time indoors. But what are the dangers of spending so much time inside? Depending on where you live, Radon gas may be a potential health hazard to consider. The typical concentration of radon in your home is about 1.3 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). By comparison, the average concentration of radon in outdoor air is .4 pCi/L. Homeowners with homes measuring radon levels of 2 pCi/L over should consider having their homes fixed.

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So what is Radon gas and where does it come from?

Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gaseous radioactive element that is an extremely toxic, colorless gas. It is the result of the radioactive decay of radium. Radium is part of the long decay chain for naturally occurring uranium which is present in the earth’s crust and is found in almost all rock, soil and water. Radon enters the home through cracks in the foundation or basement drains as it escapes from the soil surrounding the house and becomes trapped inside the home. The level of radon leaking from the soil depends upon the weather, soil moisture, and soil consistency. Any home, old or new, can have a radon issue.

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What are the dangers of being exposed to radon?

The only known health issues related to exposure to radon gas is lung cancer, and there are no immediate symptoms from being exposed to radon. Radon related lung cancer can occur 5 to 25 years after being exposed to the gas. There are approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. associated with radon gas. The scientific community believes that up to 12% of lung cancers can be attributed to radon. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths, and they are at a higher risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer. Other respiratory diseases do not appear to be caused by exposure to radon and children do not appear to be at a greater risk than adults for lung cancer.


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How do I test my home for radon dangers?

There are two types of testing kits: A short-term kit remains in the home for two to 90 days and provide faster results. A long-term test remains in the home for over 90 days and gives a more complete picture of the year-round average radon level. The National Radon Program Services have test kits available for $15 and $25. To order online: http://sosradon.org/test-kits. For more information on national and local testing programs, see: http://www.epa.gov/radon/whereyoulive.html. Some home improvement stores also carry test kits. Ensure that the test is approved by a qualified laboratory. Your state or local radon office may also have a list of qualified contractors that can test your home.

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I’ve tested my home, what do the results mean?

If the results from a long-term test or the average of two short-term tests confirm radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends you consider fixing your home.

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How do I fix my home if I have high Radon limits?

Without the proper equipment or technical knowledge, the radon level can actually be increased or other potential hazards could be created during repairs. It is recommends that a qualified radon mitigation contractor fix your home because it requires specific technical knowledge, special skills, and proper equipment to lower high radon levels. If you do decide to repair your home on your own, see the EPA’s “Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction: How to Fix Your Home” at http://www.epa.gov/radon/pdfs/consguid.pdf.


When was the last time you tested for Radon?

  • Within the last 6 months.
  • It's been over a year.
  • I've never tested my home for radon.
  • This is the first time I've heard of testing for radon.
  • I'm heading to the store to get a test kit right now!
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Comments 18 comments

TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. Author

Thank you, Samoa6. I'm glad you found the information useful! And thank you for posting a comment, always appreciated!


Samoa6 profile image

Samoa6 4 years ago from San Diego

Thanks for this informative piece!


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. Author

Thank you, Sonny! It would almost make a good scary movie, huh? :o)


Sonny Whitelaw profile image

Sonny Whitelaw 4 years ago from South Island, New Zealand

Wow, learn something new (and scary!) every day


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. Author

Thank you, PeanutButterWine...man, I love your name! LOL!


PeanutButterWine profile image

PeanutButterWine 4 years ago from North Vancouver, B.C. Canada

ooh this is scary, I was surprised too I thought it would be Mold! Very interesting hub :)


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. Author

LMBO @ Red. And you are our queen worrywart! :o) And that is NOT a bad thing. :o)


Ann Marie Dwyer profile image

Ann Marie Dwyer 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA

Actually, now that you mention it, I believe there is. Hello, my name is Red. I am a worrywart. ROFL! Our support is spreading the knowledge of WHY we worry! Red.


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. Author

Thank you, Red! I was obsessed with researching radon gas after I first heard about it. We're moving into a 100+ year old farmhouse and guess what the first thing we're doing is? LOL yep, putting a radon test in the root cellar. :o) Then comes the testing for the lead based paint....is there a Worrywarts Annonymous support group? :o)


Ann Marie Dwyer profile image

Ann Marie Dwyer 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA

I am one of those worrywarts who tests for this sort of thing. Excellent hub,e specially for those who have not been introduced to radon. Red.


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. Author

Thank you, Frank! I appreciate that! Scary, isn't it?!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

This is a good eye opening HUb.. yeah a must read my friend :)


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. Author

Thank you, Derdriu. I hope you found it interesting and useful. :) I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. Much appreciated!


Derdriu 4 years ago

TToombs08: Thank you for the concise, logical and persuasive explanation of the problem, the consequences and the check-up for the common radon gas!


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. Author

Thank you, VeronicaFarkas! I'm glad you found it useful. :o)


VeronicaFarkas profile image

VeronicaFarkas 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

Very interesting hub. Great, useful information! As w/ SusieQ42, I had not thought about Radon entering the home, let alone causing health problems. Thank you for creating this hub!


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. Author

Thank you, SusieQ42. I'd never heard of it either until someone suggested it to me. I was stunned.


SusieQ42 profile image

SusieQ42 4 years ago from Lakeland, FL

When I read the title of your hub I thought the "hidden killer" might be mold. I was surprised to find that it was about radon gas. I never thought of testing for it, or really ever heard of it. Interesting article.

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