What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that originates from uranium and radium in soil.  Radon can migrate through soil and enter buildings through floors and plumbing.  Radon concentrations within buildings can accumulate to levels that may pose a health risk.

Why Radon is Considered Hazardous?

Radon gas decays to radioactive, solid products.  These decay products can attach to dust particles, which can then be inhaled.  Once inhaled, radon decay products release tissue-damaging radiation.  This irradiation of the lungs can lead to lung cancer.  Radon is considered to be a leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers in the United States.  Since exposure to radon has the potential to produce cancer, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set the indoor radon concentration action level for residential properties at 4 picocuries per liter.  The Iowa Department of Public Health limits the radon level for occupational work spaces to 30 picocuries per liter of air.

Testing your home is the only means to assess your radon exposure risk.  Testing is easy and affordable and best completed during the cold months when buildings are closed up for heating.  Radon test kits can be purchased at many hardware stores or through public health agencies.  The purchase price usually includes sample analysis and reports. Likewise, many home inspection businesses can provide testing and mitigation services.



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