Radon Gas Can Cause Cancer

Anoka County Radon Info from the Van Mill Real Estate Group

Radon gas is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that’s released when uranium decays. It can end up in soil and well water. It’s not a problem walking around outside, because it’s released into the atmosphere. But when it enters a home, which is closed up for the most part, it can cause health problems. The gas breaks down into radioactive particles that stay behind as an unwelcome visitor. The particles, when breathed, can lead to lung cancer. In fact, it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer.

To learn more about radon, review the optional resource.

Areas Known for Radon

While elevated radon levels can be found anywhere, some areas are more at risk. According to the American Cancer Society:

The mid-Atlantic states stretching from New York through Pennsylvania to Maryland and Virginia, as well as a broad stretch of the upper Midwest, has geological formations that yield higher radon levels. In contrast, radon levels are low in the Southeast as far west as Texas and along much of the West coast.

This doesn’t mean that any area is radon free. The EPA identifies radon hot spots in most states.

How Radon Gets into a Home

Radon can enter a home in a number of ways, including through floor joists, floor drains and sump pumps, soil tracked in from outside, cracks in the concrete, porous walls, and cracks in the chimney. Radon can even enter a home through the water supply.

Because radon comes from the soil, the lowest level of a house will likely contain the highest concentration of radon.

Testing for Radon Gas

The EPA recommends that buyers always get a home tested for radon by a licensed radon testing specialist. While some home inspectors test a home for radon gas as part of the inspection process, this isn’t always the case, so it’s good to double check. If the sellers conduct radon testing before listing their home, they should reveal test levels on any disclosure forms.

There are two types of radon tests: a short-term one that takes about 48 hours to complete, and a longer one that takes several months. The short-term test is the most common.

Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). The EPA recommends radon remediation if a radon level is 4 pCi/L or higher, but notes that radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases, may be reduced. If radon is found, measures such as sealing cracks in the foundation and venting air out of the home can help reduce radon levels.

To learn more from the EPA, review the optional resource.

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