Radon Gas Health Symptoms to be Aware Of
Radon is a radioactive gas found in rocks and soil (and occasionally well water) from the natural decay of uranium. Tasteless, odorless and invisible, radon gas can occur in any home and go unnoticed for years. Radon enters homes through the soil under the house. It is sucked upward into the home through cracks from pressure differences. Any home can produce a radon problem; your foundation type does not matter. The only way to know you have a radon problem in your home is through testing, known as measuring.
Outside your home, radon exists in very low levels except for underground in mines. In fact, radon gas health symptoms were first written about in the 1500s because of miners dying off in droves. They didn't know it was radon, but the health effects still ushered in new developments in mine shaft ventilation.
In the 1500s, they didn't know about radon or understand cancer well, so the disease that was killing off miners was called mala metallorum, or ‘bad metals.' Radon is the number one leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, who make up 10% of all lung cancer diagnoses, and is the second leading cause in smokers.
WHAT ARE THE RADON GAS HEALTH SYMPTOMS?
As radon does not have its own symptoms, radon gas health symptoms are purely those of lung cancer. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lung cancer is the "only health effect which has been definitively linked with radon exposure."
Radon causes lung cancer by giving off radioactive particles that, when inhaled, damage the cells lining your lungs. Long-term exposure increases both the damage to your lungs and your chances of developing lung cancer. Radon-caused lung cancer takes around 5 to 25 years after exposure to develop.
Lung cancer symptoms include:
- A persistent cough
- Coughing blood
- Pain in your chest when you cough or laugh
- Wheezing and hoarseness
- Shortness of breath
- General cancer symptoms like unexplained weight loss and fatigue
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE RADON GAS HEALTH SYMPTOMS?
Radon is undetectable except through testing. Other than the onset of lung cancer symptoms, there are no warning signs of a radon problem. Every homeowner should test for radon, and you should install a radon mitigation system if your level of radon is above 4.0 picocuries (pCi/L). One in 15 homes is affected by high levels of radon.
There are two types of testing, known as short-term, lasting 2 to 90 days, and long-term, lasting longer than 90 days. 12 hours before the test and during the test, you are asked to keep your windows shut and to limit door usage as outside air will skew the test results. Testing devices are placed at the lowest level of living and record the radon levels in your home throughout the designated period. The results determine whether your home requires a radon mitigation system.
I TESTED MY HOME, AND THE RESULTS WERE HIGH, WHAT'S NEXT?
If radon gas health symptoms prompted you to test your home, and the results were higher than 4.0 pCi/L, you should consider a radon mitigation system. Radon mitigation systems use a fan placed in the soil beneath your home to draw the radon from the ground and pipe it up to the top of your home where it is released into the air and dissipates. Find a certified radon mitigation expert for both your testing and system installation needs, and create a healthier home for your family.
More info? For more information about creating a healthier home, check out our other post: WHAT IS SICK HOME SYNDROME AND WHAT CAUSES IT?