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Radon Health Risks
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How does radon enter your home?
What are the health risks associated with radon? 
Protect yourself and your family family from radon 


How does radon enter your home?

There are many different ways for radon to enter your home. Some of the ways include:

1. Cracks in solid floors

2. Construction joints

3. Cracks in walls

4. Gaps in suspended floors

5. Gaps around pipes

6. Cavities inside walls

7. The water supply

Image of radon entering a home 


What are the health risks associated with radon?Drawing of lungs

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. 

Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon is a form of ionizing radiation and a proven carcinogen. Lung cancer is the only known effect on human health from exposure to radon in air. Thus far, there is no evidence that children are at greater risk of lung cancer than are adults. 

Radon Risk if You Smoke

Radon Level If 1,000 people who smoked
were exposed to this level over a lifetime*...
The risk of cancer from radon
exposure compares to**...
WHAT TO DO:
Stop smoking and...
20 pCi/L About 260 people could get lung cancer 250 times the risk of drowning Fix your home
10 pCi/L About 150 people could get lung cancer 200 times the risk of dying in a home fire Fix your home
8 pCi/L About 120 people could get lung cancer 30 times the risk of dying in a fall Fix your home
4 pCi/L About 62 people could get lung cancer 5 times the risk of dying in a car crash Fix your home
2 pCi/L About 32 people could get lung cancer 6 times the risk of dying from poison Consider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/L About 20 people could get lung cancer (Average indoor radon level) (Reducing radon 
levels below 2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/L About 3 people could get lung cancer (Average outdoor radon level)
Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be lower.
pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter)
* Lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths from EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003).
** Comparison data calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Reports.

 
Radon Risk if You Never Smoke

Radon Level If 1,000 people who never
smoked were exposed to this level over a lifetime*...
The risk of cancer from radon
exposure compares to**...
WHAT TO DO:
20 pCi/L About 36 people could get lung cancer 35 times the risk of drowning Fix your home
10 pCi/L About 18 people could get lung cancer 20 times the risk of dying in a home fire Fix your home
8 pCi/L About 15 people could get lung cancer 4 times the risk of dying in a fall Fix your home
4 pCi/L About 7 people could get lung cancer The risk of dying in a car crash Fix your home
2 pCi/L About 4 people could get lung cancer The risk of dying from poison Consider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/L About 2 people could get lung cancer (Average indoor radon level) (Reducing radon levels below 
2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/L   (Average outdoor radon level)

Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be higher.
pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter)
* Lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths from EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003).
** Comparison data calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Reports.

Radon Health Risks

* Radon is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, according to EPA's 2003 Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003). The numbers of deaths from other causes are taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Report and 2002 National Safety Council Reports.

To find out more information about the health risks of radon, vist the Environmental Protection Agency Radon page.


Protect yourself and your family from radonfamily

Test your home

Several different measurement methods may be used to determine the radon concentrations in structures. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Users must decide which method is best suited to their situation.