What Is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. You can’t see or smell radon.
Radon is a colorless, chemically-underactive inert gas. It easily penetrates common household and building materials, such as paper, leather, low-density plastic (such as plastic bags), most paints, sheetrock, concrete block, mortar, tarpaper, wood paneling, and most insulations. It is fairly soluble in water and organic solvents. This radioactive gas is produced naturally from the breakdown of uranium. It is usually found in igneous rock, soil and well-water.
Health Effects of Radon Gas
The US EPA, Surgeon General, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, and National Safety Council have concluded that radon gas exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The first leading cause is smoking. Scientists estimate 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year are related to radon. People who breathe in radioactive particles, swallow water with high radon levels, or are exposed to radon for a long period of time are susceptible to lung damage and lung cancer.
Lung cancer isn’t the only health effect of radon exposure over time. Several other cancers have also been linked to radon exposure. Other respiratory diseases, such as tuberculosis, are also health effects of long term exposure. Genetic abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive issues have also been tied to radon.
Radon in the Home, Workplace and School
Human exposure to radon is primarily through inhalation and ingestion. Radon in soil, groundwater, and building materials enters work and living spaces, and over time disintegrates into its decay state, producing radon gas. Radon is most potent when humans are confined to an underground workspace, such as a mine, or an enclosed building (homes, office buildings, and schools). Many older buildings have a natural potential for high levels of radon gas, but there are studies that show newer buildings that have high radon gas levels as well.
Although radon is naturally occurring, confined spaces such as buildings or houses expose people to much higher concentrations. The effects of radon don’t show up immediately but can cause major health problems when ingested or inhaled over time.
A current topic in the media is elevated levels of radon in school buildings. Many school buildings that have had radon testing done have reported results of levels exceeding recommended exposure, in both classrooms and drinking water.
Radon is a national environmental health problem and elevated radon levels have been found in every state. The US EPA estimates that approximately 8 million homes throughout the United States have elevated radon levels. State surveys show that 1 in 5 homes have elevated radon levels. It is highly recommended that buildings such as schools be tested no less than every three years.
Radon Testing is the only way to know your level of exposure. Radon can have a big impact on Indoor Air Quality and the health of your family, students or employees.
How Can G2 Consultants Help You?
G2’s certified radon testing experts can easily test your school or workplace for elevated radon levels. Once conclusive results from our certified labs have been reviewed, G2 will help you find a course of action for radon removal and processes to improve the Indoor Air Quality in your school or business.
Let us help you keep your workplaces and schools safe. As environmental testing experts, we’re here to help. Call or email today to schedule an appointment.