Source: Deseret News, The Radioactive Killer, by Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Jan, 29, 2020 SALT LAKE CITY…
Perhaps by now you have heard of Radon Gas and know that it can be a health risk, but what is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (or EPA’s) stance on radon? To understand this you must first understand radon gas.
What is Radon Gas?
Radon gas is the radioactive gas that is produced by the natural decay of uranium in soil and rocks. Radon has no smell, taste, or color – it can only be detected by specialized testing. It is a class A known human carcinogen. This radioactive gas enters the home through cracks and pores in the foundation and becomes a health risk to you and your loved ones.
Why is Radon A Health Risk?
Radon accounts for about 70% of the radiation that we are exposed to here in Utah. If your home has high levels of radon, that means you are being exposed to radiation. After entering the home, the ionizing radiation energy is believed to begin the process of carcinogenesis. Which is the initiation of cancer formation.
Lung cancer due to the inhalation of radon is the only known risk associated with radon. In studies, there have been variables like length of exposure and the use of tobacco products. In fact, the use of tobacco greatly increases the risk of radon-induced lung cancer. But that doesn’t mean that non-smokers are immune to this risk. Any exposure to radon gas can cause lung cancer.
What is the Evidence?
Over the last 50 years, throughout the world, there have been extensive studies conducted about radon gas. Many of the studies were based on underground miners. The research on lung cancer mortality in miners exposed to radon is substantial and consistent. They have consistently shown an increase in lung cancer occurrence with exposure to radon. This data, as well as some experimental exposure of animals has confirmed that radon can cause lung cancer. You can visit EPA’s website to research studies on radon gas.
Where does the EPA Come In?
Now that we have all this data, what does that actually mean? How do we translate that and make it helpful for us? Well, that is where the EPA steps in. Once all the data was gathered, the EPA evaluated it and came up with an action level for radon gas. This means that there is a level of radon exposure that is no longer safe for you and your loved ones. So when do you need to take action to protect your loved ones?
First, you need to know that radon is measured in picoCuries per Liter or pCi/L. After analyzing all the data, it was discovered that low exposures in the range of 4 pCi/L over longer periods produced a greater lung cancer risk than high exposures over short periods. That basically means that you should test your home sooner rather than later, the longer you are exposed to any level of radon, the higher your risk of lung cancer. The EPA set their action level at 4 pCi/L – if your home tested above this, it is time to learn about radon mitigation.
The very first step in protecting your family and yourself from radon gas, is to test the radon levels in your home. Utah Radon Services offers free testing – and it is simple to get started. Just fill out the form on this page or call us at 801-871-0712 to get started today.