Is Radon Really a Big Deal?

Is Radon Really a Big Deal?

Radon TestingIs radon really a health risk? Yes, radon is a Class A carcinogen, which means it is known to cause cancer in humans. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and results in approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year.

Not everyone who breathes radon will develop lung cancer. Your risk is determined by such things as how much radon is in your home (and/or workplace, school, or other indoor environment); the amount of time you spend in your home (and/or workplace, school, or other indoor environment); and whether you smoke or have ever smoked. The longer you are exposed, and the higher the radon level, the greater the risk.

A Few Things to Know About Radon

  1. How do I know if I have a radon problem in my home? The only way to know whether your home has elevated radon levels is to test your home. There are no physical signs to warn you of the presence of radon, and it cannot be detected with the senses. And since radon levels can vary significantly from home to home, you can’t use your neighbor’s test results to determine whether or not your home has a problem. Your home must be tested.
  2. How does radon get into my home? Radon enters homes through openings in the foundation floor or walls, wherever the foundation is in contact with the soil. Because it’s a gas, radon can travel through the soil, and it generally moves from an area of higher pressure to one of lower pressure. In most cases, the soil is at higher pressure than the house, and if radon is traveling along the foundation, it can be pushed into the lower pressure area through openings such as sump wells, crawlspaces, space around plumbing or wiring, floor/wall joints, cracks, hollow block walls, or other entry points. Ultimately, tiny or large openings in the foundation floor or walls can act as entry points, and the pressure difference between the soil and the house acts as the driving force that allows radon to enter your home.
  3. My home is new/old/drafty/energy-efficient and built on a slab/crawlspace/basement/multiple foundation. Do I need to worry? Actually, any home, regardless of age, energy-efficiency, or foundation type, could have a radon problem. The only way to know whether or not a particular home has a problem is to test THAT home. Tennessee Radon Program William R. Snodgrass
  4. Where can I get a radon test kit/Who can test my home? They can be purchased at some hardware stores, home improvement centers, or other retail outlets. They can also be purchased on the internet through various retailers like If you want a professional tester to help you test your home or a home you’re considering purchasing, use an individual who is certified by the National Environmental Health Association or the National Radon Safety Board

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