We have had a lot of concerned homeowners call us and ask questions about the health effects that they may experience after living in a home with elevated levels of radon gas. The term “radon poisoning” seems to come up a lot in their questions.
For instance, “What is radon poisoning?” or “What symptoms are involved in radon poisoning?”
To be clear, it’s not really poisoning that is occurring in your body when you are exposed to elevated radon levels. As radon-222 decays (it has a half life of approximately 3.8 days) radon produces what is known as radon daughter particles, which can attach to, or “plate on to,” things like water vapor, dust, pet dander or smoke in the air. When inhaled, over an extended period of time, these radioactive particles can damage the cells in your lungs and ultimately cause lung cancer. Similar to asbestos, radon typically takes years of exposure to cause cancer. Unfortunately, this causes a lot of people to put off having radon removed from their homes.
Simply because radon gas is not usually an imminent concern or danger, does not mean it shouldn’t be addressed quickly. Most of us spend the majority of our time at home, so being exposed to dangerous radon levels for years is pretty easy to accomplish, especially if no action is taken. The majority of homeowners have at least one carbon monoxide detector in their home, which is great, but what most people don’t know is that radon gas causes approximately 20,500 more deaths per year than carbon monoxide does! Similarly, everyone should also have a smoke alarm in their home, and while that is extremely important, deaths from house fires in the U.S. in 2018 were 3,655 while radon related lung cancer deaths were estimated at between 21,000 and 29,000 that same year. If everyone is willing to purchase a carbon monoxide detector or smoke alarm for their home, what is holding them back from purchasing a radon test kit?
What are the symptoms of radon exposure?
Radon is a noble gas, which means it cannot be detected by any of our human senses. So we won’t be able to feel the effects of elevated radon levels until it’s too late. The only way to detect radon in a home is to do proper radon testing (which you can read about HERE). The symptoms of radon exposure will only be felt if you develop lung cancer from it. Here are some of the symptoms of lung cancer caused by radon gas exposure:
Many of these symptoms only occur in the advanced stage of the cancer, so it is vital to reduce your risk of getting lung cancer as soon as you can. Therefore, as you can see, the symptoms of radon exposure are not as noticeable as say carbon monoxide exposure or chlorine gas exposure, however the end result can be just as deadly.
Steps you can take to reduce your risk of radon exposure:
In conclusion, radon gas is not something you should ignore simply because it doesn’t have an instant impact. Be proactive in testing your home regularly and taking the proper steps to mitigate if your home tests high. If you have questions about radon testing, radon mitigation, or the impact of radon on your lung health, give us a call today!
We have provided radon testing and mitigation services throughout the state of Wisconsin for over two decades. Even if you don’t live in Wisconsin, that’s ok! We’re happy to answer any and all of your questions regardless of where you reside!
Lifetime Radon Solutions Inc.