The first cause that may come to mind when thinking of lung cancer is smoking. Smoking is a leading cause of contracting the dangerous disease, however, there is another common cause that many people might not think of: Radon gas. Radon gas’ health effects range largely in breathing and lung problems, which can lead to lung cancer. In fact, Radon gas poisoning is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. This poses the threat of Radon poisoning and lung cancer even higher for the ones that choose to smoke.
The threat of lung cancer and other health issues are determined by the levels of Radon gas found in your home. Simply put, the higher the levels of Radon gas, the higher the chance that the inhabitants of the home will be diagnosed with lung cancer. This doubles if there is a smoker in the house, or if someone breathes secondhand smoke often. The way Radon gas is dangerous is how it sticks in the lungs. Radon progeny combines with other molecules in the air, as well as with particles of dust, aerosols or smoke, and they deposit into the lungs. While they are stuck there, they emit ionizing radiation which can damage the cell’s lining in the airways.
One of the instances that started the study of Radon gas’s health effects were from the health of uranium miners in multiple different countries. The study included a total of 68,000 men, among whom 2,700 died of lung cancer. Studies took this information and conducted soil tests, finding that there were high levels of Radon gas contaminating the air. Combining the results from both tests showed that the miners were experiencing high levels of Radon, which was causing the bronchial health problems they were experiencing.
The levels of Radon that these miners were experiencing are nowhere near the levels that homeowners are exposed to. The miners were exposed to way more severe levels since they were working directly underground. Radon comes from the soil which is why the miners health and safety was extremely compromised for the duration of their careers.
For a lifetime exposure of Radon in the home, the risk of lung cancer is estimated to be .3%. This means that the risk is 3 deaths in 1,000 people. It has also been noted that other effects of Radon include increased risk of non-malignant respiratory diseases. Lung cancer is very common, especially when Radon exposure goes undetected in the home.
If you test your home for the level of Radon gas and it comes out high, there are ways to reduce the level, thus reducing the risk of lung cancer and other health problems. Radon mitigation is the standard reduction technique, which uses fans to suction and pull the hazardous gas from the air. Situated on the side of the house, the fans wrench the Radon-infused gas from below the foundation. The pipes are used to transport the gas to the top of the house, which is then released into the outside air. Being released at the top of the structure quickly dilutes the toxins, creating safe air to breathe.