I recently received a kind email about my blog from Jessica Morgan, who works with a radon testing and mitigation company based in the United Kingdom. Outside of smoking, radon gas exposure is one of the more common known factors for increasing the risk of lung cancer. In the message, she asked if I would be interested in an infographic her company had created called The Dangers of Radon and its Health Effects. According to their website, radon gas exposure is responsible for approximately 1,100 to 2,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the UK. Estimates for the US suggest between 15,000 and 22,000 deaths occur annually due to lung cancers related to radon gas exposure. Clearly, this is a serious and persistent issue.
Admittedly, I don’t know a whole lot about radon gas outside of having researched to see if it was a probable cause for my cancer diagnosis. The types of structures I have lived in and the locations of my previous homes indicated that there was no likely connection between my personal lung cancer and radon gas exposure. However, it is a subject that I think is highly relevant to the greater lung cancer discussion and is an essential part of understanding that lung cancer is not simply a smoker’s disease.
Because radon gas is not one of the areas of my own specialty, I asked Jessica for some information that I could share. The following information comes directly from PropertEco Ltd, and was supplied to me by request as educational material based on their expertise in the field.
How Much Harm Can Radon Cause?
Radon, a radioactive, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, has been the second leading reason for lung cancer in people. Those who smoke are more susceptible to it. The characteristic of the soil or rock in the area can determine the levels of radon in houses as well as other buildings like schools, offices, etc. The seepage and concentration of the gas can vary from one place to another. When natural decay of elements like uranium and radium occur, it can lead to the formation of radon gas. This gas can travel from the ground and seep into homes and other buildings. Radon itself is inert, but when it decays to particles like polonium and lead, it can become chemically active and attach itself to dust particles indoors which upon inhaling can lead to harmful effects like lung cancer. Some of the harmful effects that radon can cause are genotoxic effects, lung cancer, emphysema, silicosis, respiratory lesions, etc. Please take a look at this infographic from PropertEco to understand about Radon and its ill effects in a simpler manner.