What Is Radon Gas?

Secondly Leading Cause Of Lung Cancer 

radonillinois.fwIn Illinois, property owners need to be aware of the hazards associated with Radon gas.  The EPA Radon Map (shown here), indicates heavy radon gas concentrations in the state.

Radon is a chemical element with symbol Rn and atomic number 86. It is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas, occurring naturally as an indirect decay product of uranium or thorium. Its most stable isotope, 222Rn, has a half-life of 3.8 days. Radon is one of the densest substances that remains a gas under normal conditions. It is also the only gas under normal conditions that has radioactive isotopes, and is considered a health hazard due to its radioactivity.

What we do know is that Radon gas is the decay product of radium which is found at low concentrations in almost all rock and soil. Radon is generated in rock and soil, and creeps through cracks or spaces between particles up to the outside air. Although outdoor concentrations of radon are typically low, about 0.4 picocuries per liter (pCi/l) of air, it can seep into buildings through foundation cracks or openings and build up to much higher concentrations.

Being much heavier than air, it stays on the ground and can concentrate in poorly ventilated buildings that are built on radium-rich soil. Radon gas can accumulate to far higher than normal concentrations especially in low areas such as basements and crawl spaces due to its heavy nature. It can also be found in some spring waters and hot springs. Radon is an invisible gas, and is thus easily inhaled.

Radon is considered a significant contaminant that affects indoor air quality worldwide.  Radon is an invisible gas, and is thus easily inhaled.  Studies have shown a link between breathing high concentrations of radon and incidence of lung cancer.  According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking, causing 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. While radon is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, it is the number one cause among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates.