What is Radon?
Radon is a Class A carcinogenic gas that is radioactive. It is odourless, tasteless and colourless –making it one of the more nefarious substances in nature. Radon is a chemically nonreactive, inert gas that occurs with the natural breakdown of uranium. Uranium is a metal most commonly found in soil, rock and groundwater.
Why is Radon a Threat?
Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. This carcinogen is responsible for approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States and 3,200 in Canada, per year. That is more than twice the amount of deaths caused by any other cancer. It is also the top environmental cause of death over substances like pesticides, asbestos, carbon monoxide and pollutants. With its escalating mortality rate, radon exposure must be found early and handled quickly.
Unfortunately, there are many homeowners who are still unaware of radon and the threat it poses. There are no immediate symptoms that are associated with radon exposure, and its effects are gradual and develop over time. Unlike other home-bound toxins and allergens that can cause health problems, radon can go undetected for years, slowly damaging your lungs over time.
How Does Radon Get Into the Home?
In nature, as radon is released from the ground into the air, it dilutes and dissipates. Radon is nine-times denser than air, so it easily settles and becomes trapped in the rooms of your home. In most homes radon moves up through the floor and other openings between the ground and living spaces. It permeates paper, low-density plastic, sheetrock, mortar, paint, concrete blocks, tar paper, untreated wood and most types of insulation. One out of every six homes across North America is affected by radon, regardless of the year it was constructed.
Here are the most common ways that Radon can enter your home:
- Construction joints
- Crack in the solid floors
- Crack in the walls
- Cavities inside walls
- Gaps around service pipes
- Water supply
- Basement sump pumps
- Pipe entrances