What is Radon and Why is it Dangerous in My Home? - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jan 14, 2022

What is Radon and Why is it Dangerous in My Home?

Learn About What Exactly Radon Is and How Best to Protect Your Home


Protecting your family and home is your number one priority. But what if you don’t know there is something in your air to be protecting against? Radon is an odorless and colorless gas that is potentially dangerous. Radon can move up through the ground and into the air inside your home through cracks or holes in your foundation. It can even enter through your water well.


Continue reading to learn more about what radon is, why it's concerning and how to best protect your home and family. 


What Is Radon?

According to the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), “Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer.” This gas is inert, colorless and odorless. The American Cancer Society explains that radon forms from the breaking down of radioactive elements, for example uranium, which is typically found in varying amounts in rocks and soil throughout the world. 


When outdoors, radon will disperse rapidly, so it’s not generally cause for concern. Indoors however, it will not disperse and can cause various health issues after long term exposure.


Why Is It Dangerous? 

The EPA states that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. There are an estimated 21,000 deaths each year from radon-related lung cancer. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. Some studies suggest that exposure may be linked to other types of cancer as well such as childhood leukemia.


How Can You Protect Your Home? 

Being proactive is key.  There are measurable steps you can take to control and reduce radon exposure. You’ll want to have your home tested, either by a professional or with a DIY radon kit. Per the EPA website, it is suggested you begin mitigating if levels are at or above 148 Bq/m3 (4 pCi/L).  


Typically, radon problems can be fixed using an underground ventilation system or simply by increasing the rate of air changes throughout the building. According to the American Cancer Society, it is not recommended that you live or work for long periods of time in basements, as radon levels are usually highest in these areas. It’s important to recognize that exposure can occur anywhere indoors. Radon levels will vary greatly depending on the characteristics of the rocks and soil in your area. With that in mind, it might be worth asking your employer if your office has a radon mitigation system, as well as your children’s school district, especially if your area is known for higher levels of radon. 


Oftentimes, radon testing will be required to be taken by a professional when you are in the process of buying or selling your home. When buying a new home, it's a good idea to ask whether or not the home contains radon-resistance features, such as a gas permeable layer, plastic sheeting, vent piping, or a junction box


While dealing with issues such as this can feel daunting, the most important thing is prevention. Now that you are prepared to defend your home and family against radon, you might also be interested in giving your home a wellness check-up. Check out the link below for more information!