You know air pollution is dangerous, but what about the air INSIDE your home?

Image: You know air pollution is dangerous, but what about the air INSIDE your home?

You might want to get your homes checked to see if you’re harboring an invisible killer in the air. According to Dr. Aaron Goodarzi of the University of Calgary, houses may have well over the safe exposure limit of radon gas.

In an article in the Daily Mail, Dr. Goodarzi writes that at least one in 15 homes in the U.S. contain the invisible gas.

Radon, a radioactive, invisible, and colorless gas, is a major cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke. In Canada, at least 4,000 new cases of lung cancer are attributed to radon exposure, while experts estimate 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. are linked to the gas.

He and his research team have been testing well over 2,300 homes in Canada for radon for years. According to the results of the testing, at least one in eight homes that were tested contained radon levels that are higher than acceptable levels. Interestingly enough, newer houses have the largest problem with radon levels.

However, the problem lies, according to Dr. Goodarzi, with people’s lack of awareness on the effects of radon gas.

Radon is a radioactive gas that’s invisible and contains no odor. While it naturally occurs from the breakdown of radium in the soil, the gas can seep into a building through cracks in the foundation as well as other openings.

It can be mostly found in the basement or cellars of homes, schools, and offices. There is no distinction with radon exposure: It can seep in any building, both old and new, in about all places where there is housing structure.

The correlation between radon gas and lung cancer was made in the 1970s after abnormally high cancer rates were detected in uranium miners in Elliot Lake in Ontario, Canada.

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Currently, studies have already established that long-term exposure to radon gas can cause irreparable harm to the DNA and lead to gene mutations that ultimately will lead to cancer. Next to smoking, radon exposure is the leading cause of cancer in non-smokers. (Related: Radon in Homes is the Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer.)

Dr. Goodarzi writes that radon exposure is now a major public health concern in Canada. In his location in Alberta alone, he estimates that many patients in Alberta who have never smoked a day in their life, are faced with a high risk for lung cancer.

Still, radon-induced lung cancer can be avoided completely with testing and proper management. Health care costs will be saved by avoiding radon cancer, not to mention a decrease in human suffering.

However, a person who smokes and also lives in a home with radon gas puts him at a much greater hazard, with a one in four chance of developing lung cancer later on. Meanwhile, the percentage of smokers who may have avoided cancer if they were not also exposed to radon gas remains uncertain.

With the advancement of scientific studies regarding the dangers of radon gas, Dr. Goodarzi opines that this will translate to additional legislation to regulate the gas, especially since children have the greatest risk of radon exposure throughout their lives.

As the harmful effects of radon are now gaining ground, the team hopes that this will make radon testing for homes a normal requirement, especially in cases wherein the home was just purchased after a major home repair.

Sources include:

The Dangers of Radon: The Silent Assassin

Radon has no color or smell.  There is absolutely nothing to alert you to any threat of danger.

what are the dangers of radon

It is one of the second highest cause of lung cancer worldwide, resulting in more than 20,000 deaths in the United States annually.

The primary dangers of radon is that it is potentially everywhere.  It is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is produced from the decay of radioactive elements – such as uranium – in the earth’s rocks and soil.  Radon gas can also contaminate ground and well water.

For most people, the risk of radon exposure usually comes from where they live and depends on several factors.

  • The amount of uranium found in rocks and the soil beneath the place of residence.
  • Entry points for radon to enter the home such as cracks between concrete (usually found in the floor-to-wall junctions), gaps in tiles or the floor, small pores found in hollow-block walls, drains, and sump-pumps.
  • The exchange rate between indoor and outdoor air. Homes that are always sealed (a common occurrence in climates that are cold or hot year-round) tend to have higher levels of radon gas.  Airing out a home allows outside air to dilute concentration.
  • Homes with poor ventilation or poorly sealed.

As a rule, radon gas levels are highest in the basement, cellars, or other parts of the home that come in direct contact with the soil.

When radon gas escapes into the air of the home, it breaks down into smaller radioactive particles.  These particles latch on to aerosols, dusts, and other air-borne substances.  When we breathe this contaminated air, these same particles enter into our lungs, are deposited into the cells lining our airways, and begin damaging DNA structure.

This damage, when unchecked, can ultimately lead to lung cancer.

Researchers have revealed that, while it is true elevated levels of radon can increase the chances of one developing lung cancer, a surprising number of people develop lung cancer despite concentration levels being in the low to middle range.

This could be because some people spend more time in their homes, where the danger of radon gas exposure is more likely.  Radon gas is also the primary cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and if the patient is a smoker, the risk of lung cancer is much higher.

Lower the Risk of Radon in Your Home

  • Block the passage of air from basements and cellars to the regular living floors by using a tightly sealed door between levels.
  • Increase under-floor ventilation.
  • Install a radon sump system in the basement.
  • Properly seal the floors and walls.
  • Install radon detectors in every zone of your home.
  • Ask your local water supply company for radon concentration in your location.
  • Have your home inspected for radon or test it yourself with an inexpensive kit.

These are just some of the things that we can do to reduce the risk of radon exposure for ourselves and loved ones right at home where the undetected gas is most damaging.

– See more at:

Studies on radon concentration in aqueous samples at Mysore city, India.



Context: Natural radionuclides are wide spread in air, water, soil, plants and in consequence in the human diet. 222 Ra is the daughter product of 226 Ra which belongs to 238 U radioactive seriesAims: Radon enters the human body through ingestion of water and inhalation. Since alpha emitters are the most dangerous, studies on water containing dissolved radon are very important. Materials and Methods: The activity concentration of 222 Ra has been analyzed in water samples collected from lakes, open wells, drilled wells, taps and rivers in and around Mysore city, Karnataka State, India using radon emanometric technique. Results: The present study shows a wide range of radon concentration in water, which varies from below detection limit to 643.9 BqL -1 with a median of 15.8 BqL -1. An annual effective dose with a median of 0.043 μSv y-1 was estimated from the ingestion of 222 Ra through water. Conclusions: 222 Rn concentration in 80% of bore-well water samples are higher than the maximum acceptable contaminant level of 11.1 BqL -1 as prescribed by the environmental protection agency.


The 222 Rn concentrations in 80% of the bore well water samples are higher than the 11.1 BqL -1 prescribed by the EPA. But radon concentration is found to be less in surface water and tap water. Radon concentration in 40% of the bore well water samples are in the range of 4-40 BqL -1 . Consequently, the ingestion dose to the children, adult and the effective dose was found to be with a mean of 0.026, 0.01 and 0.162 μSvy-1 respectively, which is less than the 100 μSvy-1 as recommended by WHO..