What is Radon Gas and How Can You Prevent It?

You can’t see it, you can’t smell it, and you can’t taste it, but it may be causing problems in your home without your even realizing it, making it a silent threat.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that forms when uranium, thorium, or radium in the soil, rock, and groundwater breaks down and incorporates into the air you breathe. While you can be exposed to radon anywhere, you and your family are most likely to be exposed at home — the place where you spend a good portion of your time. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that nearly one out of every 15 homes in the US has elevated radon levels.

Outdoors, radon disperses rapidly and doesn’t pose a health risk. However, when it seeps through the cracks and gaps in your home and accumulates, that’s when it becomes a problem.

In this blog, we’ll share the various health issues that radon can cause, and more importantly, the most effective ways to avoid radon exposure and maintain your health.

Health Risks Caused by Radon to Watch Out For

Because radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, many individuals aren’t even aware that they’re being exposed until they experience adverse symptoms. 

One of the most common and serious health risks caused by long-term exposure to radon is lung cancer. In fact, this radioactive gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the American Lung Association.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General’s office estimate that it is responsible for about 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year. When you breathe in the radioactive particles of radon, they can get trapped in your lungs and release small bursts of energy as they decay further. Over time, this can damage your lung tissue and cause lung cancer. 

Smokers who are exposed to radon have been found to be at an even greater risk of getting cancer. While the complete extent of radon's health risks has yet to be fully realized, the fact that studies have shown that it’s cancer-causing is enough reason to try and keep radon levels in your home at a minimum.

How to Avoid Exposure to Radon

Whether you suspect you might already be living with high levels of radon at home or you simply want to take preventative measures, here are a few things you can do:

  • Test your home for radon to find out if you have elevated levels of this harmful radioactive gas in your home. You can have a professional do it or buy a do-it-yourself radon test kit.

Testing is straightforward and only takes a few minutes of your time. The directions can be found on the packaging. Testing can take anywhere from 48 hours to a few months. Of course, the longer you test, the more thorough the results will be.

Once done, send the kit to appropriate sources to confirm the radon levels in your home. According to the EPA, when levels are above four picocuries/liter (148 Becquerels/cubic meter), you need to take action and reduce the levels of radon in your home.

  • Seal cracks and gaps in your walls and floors using caulking, plaster, or other materials for sealing. If you're not a handyman, you can also hire a contractor. Whichever path you choose to take, make sure to test again after fixing your home to ensure that the radon levels are going down.

  • Improve the airflow in your home by opening windows and using vents or fans for better air circulation. However, it's also important to note that natural ventilation in any type of home is only a temporary strategy to control radon levels.

  • Buy an air purifier with the right specs. Not all air purifiers are created equal, so make sure that you know their features before buying. Let’s talk about what you should look for.

Importantly, you want a system that has multiple layers of defense. The Sans air purifier has a high-quality pre-filter that captures dust and other relatively larger particulate matter, as well as a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter recommended by the U.S. Department of Health for its effectiveness in trapping 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 microns, such as viruses and bacteria.

After that, the Sans air purifier uses an activated carbon filter, which neutralizes harmful chemicals in the air that come in the form of gases, including harmful radon. Lastly, Sans uses UV-C light sterilization to destroy the microorganisms trapped by the filters so that they can’t grow on the layers and release back into the air you’re breathing. Learn more about why UV-C light is important.

Few air purifiers offer such a thorough, extensive approach to cleansing the air that you breathe, making Sans an excellent choice to keep your indoor air more pleasant and your home a safe space for you and your family.

It’s no secret that radon gas can pose a health risk for you and your family. However, it’s important to note that this problem can be efficiently controlled and managed to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Don’t wait for someone inside your home to show symptoms of health problems caused by radon. Get your home tested today and take action.

To protect your home against radon and other harmful particles — like mold, dust, viruses, and bacteria — try Sans today and feel the difference.

If you found this blog helpful, you might also want to learn about how to avoid at-home mold.