Symptoms of radon poisoning do not present themselves immediately. It can take years of exposure to this dangerous gas before you experience symptoms, but serious health issues may have already developed. Read on for more information about radon exposure, the associated health risks, and how you can protect your home and health.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas. Once emitted from the ground, radon can enter your home through foundation cracks or gaps in your basement walls. It is also possible for radon to enter your water supply if you use groundwater.
Radon can accumulate in your home regardless of its design or age. Three factors that increase the risk of dangerous levels of radon buildup include:
- A poorly ventilated basement or ground floor
- Well-insulated homes
- Uranium-, radium-, or thorium-rich ground
Unfortunately, there aren’t any medical tests that can measure if you have a greater risk of radon exposure or if you’ve already been exposed to it. But if you’re worried you have been exposed to elevated radon levels, speak with your doctor about your symptoms and whether or not you should get a regular health checkup. And since radon can increase your risk of cancer, you should undergo tests to look for possible signs of lung cancer.
Symptoms of radon poisoning, and therefore symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Chest pain
- Tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- New, worsening, or persistent cough
- Trouble swallowing
Cigarette smoke obviously increases your chances of developing lung cancer, so if you smoke and you’ve been exposed to high levels of radon, you need to quit smoking ASAP. The radon exposure and cigarette smoking combo raise the risk of lung cancer more than either smoking or radon exposure alone.
The US government has established the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program for people who have been exposed to radon at work, like uranium miners, millers, and transporters. This program offers compensation for lung cancer and other lung diseases to people who qualify.
Because the effects of radon are slow and subtle, the best time to act is now. Whether you are a homeowner or a homebuyer, safety should be the primary concern in homeownership. Here are ways to reduce the threat of radon to you and your family.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you are looking to purchase a house, make sure to include radon testing in the initial home inspection. If you already own a home, contact a home inspector who offers radon testing. Professional one-stop-shop home inspectors can perform your radon testing as a stand-alone service, or as part of a package including full home inspection and other ancillary services.
You should work with a home inspector who follows United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines when testing for radon. Given that 1 in 15 homes in the United States has high levels of radon according to the EPA, and radon has been found all across the US and in all types of homes, testing is your best recourse to this health risk.
Open the windows or use fans and vents to increase the airflow in your basement, crawl space, or ground floor. In addition to expelling radon gases, this can also improve the indoor air quality of your home. However, if the test result shows a high level of radon, this measure alone may not work in reducing radon to an acceptable level.
Since radon enters a house through cracks and gaps, sealing and caulking at the first sign of trouble help is an important step for prevention. If the need for stricter measures arises, this basic step helps make any mitigation system more efficient and effective.
The Pine Breeze Radon Mitigation team understands radon poisoning risks due to exposure to high radon gas levels.
If you think you have any symptoms of radon poisoning, there is no better time than now to have your home tested.
If your home has an elevated radon level, you and your family could be at risk of developing lung cancer.
Pine Breeze Radon Mitigation can test your home.
If your radon levels come back high, we can install a radon mitigation system to lower the radon levels in your home.