What is the great home will be give for your life
The second-leading cause of lung cancer could be hiding inside your own home.
Radon — an odorless, colorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas — is inhaled into the lungs, where it can damage the DNA, potentially increasing cancer risk, says Douglas Arenberg, MD, associate professor of medicine in the pulmonary and critical care department at the University of Michigan Health System.
Exposure to radon gas, which can seep through cracks in the walls and floors of your home, increases the risk of developing lung cancer. In the United States, an estimated 21,000 people die from radon-related lung cancer every year (compared with 160,000 lung cancer deaths from smoking), according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, and it’s the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, adds the EPA. And people who smoke or used to smoke have an even greater chance of developing lung cancer if they are exposed to radon.
“Lung cancer risk from radon exposure occurs over many years of high-level exposure,” Dr. Arenberg says.
Radon: The Home Invader
Radon forms when uranium in water, rocks, and soil begins to break down, releasing radon gas into the dirt beneath your home. Radon can enter your home through:
- Cracks in foundation walls and floors
- Gaps in flooring
- Warm air rising indoors
- Spaces around pipes entering the foundation
- Wind blowing outdoors
- Fireplaces and furnaces
- Open areas inside the walls
- Exterior air vents
- Water — usually well water
- Construction joints — where concrete stops and starts again
Radon is a common problem in homes throughout the country — as many as one in 15 U.S. homes has high levels of radon, according to the EPA. But certain geographic regions are more likely to be affected. In general, the Northeast, southern Appalachia, the Midwest, and northern plains areas tend to have levels over the recommended limit of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air, while coastal areas tend to have lower levels. Newer homes may also have higher levels of radon due to better porosity in soil around the house, which can make it easier for radon gas to flow in.