Radon is an odorless and colorless gas that is naturally occurring in soils and bedrock. Radon gas occurs as a natural radioactive gas from the element radium. Radium is a natural decay product of uranium. Radon gas is not chemically reactive and moves freely as a gas. Since radium and uranium deposits can vary, radon gas which escapes through the soil and into the atmosphere varies with the depth of deposit and permeability of the surrounding soil and rock.
How does Radon get into my House?
As radon gas escapes through the earth’s crust it can infiltrate and become trapped inside of buildings. Radon can enter buildings thought openings and uncovered earth areas, such as crawl spaces. Depending on the features of a building, including air exchange, radon gas may concentrate to levels considered unhealthy. The only way to know if a building has radon gas is to have the air tested for levels of radon gas.
What are the Health Effects of Radon?
Long term exposure to radon gas may increase the chances of lung cancer. The federal government estimates that radon gas may cause 5,000 to 20,000 deaths a year from lung cancer. Only smoking contributes to a larger number of lung cancer deaths.
How to Obtain Radon Test Kits and Other Information:
District Health Department #2 provides both short term and long term radon gas testing devices for a small fee. When a short term test (4-7 days) indicates a high level of radon then use of a long term test device (90-365 days) is recommended. District Health Department #2 also provides informational literature about radon, including information on how to remediate radon levels in your house if testing reveals that a high level of radon gas exists. The recommended action level for radon gas is 4.0 picocuries per liter (4 pCi/l).