Protecting Your Family From the Dangers of Radon
Some of the most dangerous substances found in your home are colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Along with carbon monoxide, radon is extremely dangerous. Radon accumulates in your home and, after years of exposure, may raise the risk of lung cancer. These are the dangers of radon in your home.
What Is Radon?
Radon is a gas that occurs naturally in the environment. As uranium decomposes, it turns into radium, which becomes radon gas.
This gas is not harmful in brief periods of exposure to small amounts, but over a long period of time, the side effects are very serious. When you breathe in radon gas, it penetrates the lining of your lungs where it emits radiation. Because of the radioactivity, it will permanently damage cells and lead to cancerous growth.
Radon seeps into the lower levels of homes through small cracks and seams in the walls. If you are a current or former smoker, you are at an increased risk of getting lung cancer or experiencing other respiratory damage.
What Are the Signs You’re Experiencing the Dangers of Radon?
The dangers of radon are very serious, so every homeowner should have testing performed and know the signs of exposure. Symptoms may take years to manifest themselves if you live in a home with elevated levels of radon. Some of the signs that you may have lung cancer due to radon include:
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough
- Coughing up blood
- Regular respiratory infections, like bronchitis or pneumonia
- Appetite loss
- Neck or facial swelling
- Unexplained weight loss
If you are concerned that you might have developed lung cancer due to radon in your home, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Can You Tell if Your Home Has High Radon Levels?
Professional testing is the only way to know exactly how much radon is present in your home. A home inspector can perform short and long-term testing to give you an idea of your average exposure to the dangers of radon. The Environmental Protection Agency has specific guidelines as to how often you should have testing performed. You should get radon testing if:
- You are getting ready to buy or sell a home
- You have never had testing performed
- You want to renovate the basement or bottom level
- You are altering the layout of your house so that the basement will be used more often
- After you have installed new windows or doors
If your test results return an elevated level of radon in your home, contact a radon mitigation company to address the radon in your home.
Gorge Quality Home Inspections provides inspection services to customers in the Columbia River Gorge area. Contact us to schedule an appointment.