What is Radon?
Radon is a lung cancer-causing radioactive gas identified by the EPA as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. It is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil, rock and water. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes and homes with our without basements. Around 50% of the homes in St. Croix and surrounding counties have radon levels of 4 pCi/L and above. The EPA recommends that those homes be treated with a radon mitigation system.
The United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon related. The U.S. Surgeon General and the EPA recommend that all homes be tested for radon levels. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
- Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to the EPA. At a level of 10pCi/L it is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
- For smokers, the risk of lung cancer is significant due to the synergistic effects of radon and smoking.
- At 4 pCi/L, 62 people in a 1,000 who are smokers will die of lung cancer, compared to 7.3 people in 1,000 for someone who has never smoked.
- Radon exposure does not produce immediate symptoms. You may not realize that you are being exposed to dangerous levels of radon until you or someone in your family is diagnosed with lung cancer.