Radon Education Des Moines IA
What is Radon?
Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas that can present a serious health hazard. The gas is released through the natural decay of thorium and uranium. These are common naturally occurring elements found in varying amounts of rock, soil, and water all over the world. As radon gas decays it releases small bursts of energy that can damage lung tissue according to the National Academy of Science’s Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VI Report: “The Health Effects of Radon.”
How does Radon enter the home?
Radon gas is constantly released by the soil under your home.
Air pressure within the home pulls soil air (containing radon gas) from below the foundation into living spaces.
The difference between the air inside your home and the air outside your home helps create what’s called a “stack affect”. As the warm air rises upward in your home it creates somewhat of a vacuum. Once in the home, radon gas is distributed through the home by heating/cooling blowers. This is why the radon levels may be different on each level of the home. Normally the worst levels are in the basement. See the diagram below.
Is Radon in My Home?
If you live in Iowa, the odds are unfortunately very high. The EPA shows that the entire state of Iowa is considered at high risk for radon gas in homes. High levels of radon can be found in any type of home, so it is important for everyone to test their home. Take a look at the map below to see what areas have the highest Radon levels.
The document links below provide information about radon and what the State of Iowa is doing to make people more aware of this risk.
The following video provides more information about radon from the physician perspective.
Exposure to Radon Causes Lung Cancer In Non-smokers and Smokers Alike
- Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. From the time of diagnosis, between 11 and 15 percent of those afflicted will live beyond five years, depending upon demographic factors. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented.
- Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking causes an estimated 160,000* cancer deaths in the U.S. every year (American Cancer Society, 2004). And the rate among women is rising. On January 11, 1964, Dr. Luther L. Terry, then U.S. Surgeon General, issued the first warning on the link between smoking and lung cancer. Lung cancer now surpasses breast cancer as the number one cause of death among women. A smoker who is also exposed to radon has a much higher risk of lung cancer.
- Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for more then 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. On January 13, 2005, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General, issued a national health advisory on radon.
- Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of lung cancer and responsible for an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Smoking affects non-smokers by exposing them to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke can have serious consequences for children’s health, including asthma attacks, affecting the respiratory tract (bronchitis, pneumonia), and may cause ear infections.