What is Radon Gas and what are the health risks?
Radon gas is a serious health risk and the primary environmental hazard in Canada. Because radon is a colorless and odorless gas, many homeowners do not feel compelled to ensure radon infiltrations are eliminated from their homes.
While radon gas is a common element found in soil and rocks, it is only considered harmless when released into unconfined air such as in crawl spaces, basements, and buildings. Radon is a natural radioactive decay byproduct of uranium, contained in soil and rocks.
The sources attributing radon exposure to lung cancer are numerous. They have conducted studies to support findings that estimate 20,000+ deaths per year are from lung cancer caused by radon gas inhalation or radon gas ingestion. Deaths from radon exposure in lung cancer patients are second only to deaths from lung cancer caused by smoking.
The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists provides biological and epidemiological data resourses, connecting radon exposure to lung cancer. When radon is inhaled into the lungs, a radioactive decay process begins. Alpha particles are released and destroy lung tissue by compromising DNA. The following organizations and agencies have classified radon as a Class A human carcinogen:
- US Department of Health and Human Services
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- World Health Organization
- National Academy of Sciences