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Radon: #2 Cause of Lung Cancer

Posted on January 03, 2012
by Wendy Stackhouse


It’s National Radon Action Month in January and we thought you might be interested in this common and dangerous gas and learn how to avoid its health risks.

Second only to smoking, Radon Gas causes thousands of deaths every year. And if you smoke, your risk of getting lung cancer is much higher.

What is Radon?

Radon is an odorless, colorless gas which is emitted by the radioactive decay of uranium minerals in the soil. You can find it anywhere in the US, in any building including homes. Radon in your home is the most dangerous because you spend most of your time there.

Radon comes up through the ground and into your home or commercial building and then gets trapped inside, where we live. Any home can have a Radon issue, whether well-sealed or drafty, new or old.

How Does Radon Enter a Building?

  • With the water supply
  • Through cracks in walls or floors
  • Via gaps in suspended floors or around pipes
  • At construction joints

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than 6% of all US homes have elevated levels of Radon.

What About California?

Radon has been found in every state in the US, but there are regional differences, of course, even within states. Here is a map of California’s radon levels:

Radon regions in California

The red regions have a predicted level over 4 picocuries per liter of air.


The orange regions have a predicted level of between 2 and 4 picocuries per liter.


The yellow regions have a predicted level of less than 2 picocuries.


What Does That Mean for Health Risks?

Your risk of developing lung cancer, especially if you smoke or are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke, go up tremendously when you are also exposed to Radon. At levels over 4 picocuries per liter, between 62 and 260 out of every 1000 people will get lung cancer who otherwise would not. A level over 4 picocuries needs to be dealt with right away.

Come back to our blog for more information! Next up in our series: How To Test for Radon!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutionsand our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. She welcomes your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and followus on Twitter! For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

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