What is Radon?
Radon gas is a naturally-occurring by-product of the radioactive decay of Uranium in the soil. Depending on your geographic location, the radon levels in the air you breathe outside of your home may be as high as 0.75 pCi/L. The national average of outside radon levels is 0.4 pCi/L, and it is estimated by the National Academy of Sciences that outdoor radon levels cause approximately 800 of the 21,000 radon-induced lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year.
The Risk of Radon Exposure
Your risk of lung cancer increases substantially with exposure to higher radon levels. Lung cancer risk rises 16% per 2.7 pCi/L increase in radon exposure (World Health Organization, 2009). Studies show that radon is the primary cause of lung cancer among people who have never smoked. However, the absolute number of radon-induced lung cancers are much larger in people who smoke, or who have smoked in the past, due to a strong combined effect of smoking and radon. Radon is an odorless, tasteless, and naturally occurring gas. Its radioactive properties are a health hazard. Radon gas, over time, can cause cancer. It exists in the natural environment in many areas of the country, though some geologic regions produce more of the gas than others, making radon testing almost a necessity in some areas.