Radon and Lung Cancer

Why Radon Lung Cancer is a Concern

Every homeowner needs to be concerned about the danger radon gas poses. The gas is a difficult problem to deal with because it is invisible and has no detectable taste or smell. Radon is radioactive and can cause lung cancer in people who breathe in the gas. More than 21,000 people die from radon lung cancer every year. One of the main problems is that an individual can be exposed to radon for years without any noticeable health effects. There are several points that should be understood about radon and radon-caused lung cancer.

Radon gas is formed when small amounts of uranium start to decay. The individual particles of uranium turn into radon gas and rise out of the ground. Radon decays into polonium and then into lead. While radon is in a gas form people breathing in the particles can develop radon lung cancer. The main threat of developing radon lung cancer comes from high accumulations of the gas inside of a home, business, or other enclosed environment. Radon lung cancer is not usually a risk when outdoors due to the diluting of radon in the air.

Several standards exist that can help to detect when there is an increased risk of developing radon lung cancer. These standards are based on a measurement known as a picocurie. Radon concentrations are measured in picocuries per liter of air. The most commonly accepted level of harmful radon is 4 picocuries per liter of air. Amounts above this concentration can dramatically increase the risk of developing radon lung cancer. Companies like SWAT Environmental can use special detectors to measure concentrations of radon in a home. At 10 picocuries per liter of air, individuals have 18 times the risk of developing radon lung cancer. Individuals have 62 times the risk of radon lung cancer at 20 picocuries per liter of air if the person smokes.

Radon lung cancer is caused by the radioactivity of the gas. The radon particles are actually emitting small amounts of energy as they decay over time. If the particles are breathed into the lungs, then the energy will start to damage cells. This will eventually lead to mutations that become the basis for tumors and radon lung cancer. Radon lung cancer can become very serious in a very short period of time. It is even possible that radon lung cancer could metastasize and spread to other organs in the body. The only way to avoid radon lung cancer is to detect the gas early and to limit or avoid exposure.

The single most effective way to avoid radon lung cancer is to have a home tested regularly. Radon gas can start to seep into a house at any time. Preventing radon lung cancer means identifying the problem before long-term exposure occurs. Testing by a business like SWAT Environmental can provide results in just a few days. They can also install special long-term radon detectors that will measure levels of the gas in the home over many months. Radon lung cancer can develop anywhere from a few months to several years depending on the gas levels in the house. Testing is the only sure way to detect if radon lung cancer risks are elevated in a home.

If a home contains high enough concentrations of the gas so that radon lung cancer risks are increased, then remediation might be necessary. Remediation can decrease or eliminate the risk of developing radon lung cancer by reducing gas concentrations in buildings. Radon mitigation can involve active systems like fans in the home, air exchange systems, or house pressurization. They can also involve passive techniques like sealing the home so that radon gas cannot get into the basement. Businesses like SWAT Environmental can develop a custom radon mitigation plan for any home that has high levels of the gas present. A combination of systems could reduce levels by 99% and make the risk of developing radon lung cancer nonexistent.

People in a home can develop lung cancer over the course of several years without ever knowing there are high amounts of radon in the house. Eliminating the risk of this serious disease requires taking action. Contacting a company like SWAT Environmental is a first step. Homeowners should order radon testing immediately. This is important even if there have never radon problems in the neighborhood.