Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It forms naturally from the radioactive decay of uranium, which is found at various levels in bedrock. Radon gas escapes upward through the soil from the bedrock below into the air, ground water and surface water.  Thus radon is present outdoors and indoors. It is normally recorded at very low levels in outdoor air and in drinking water from rivers and lakes due to dilution. However, it can be found at sustained, higher levels in the air of homes and other buildings due to containment. Once it moves freely throughout the home’s indoor air, occupants breathe it into their lungs where it can cause cell damage that may lead to lung cancer.  Radon is particularly deadly when at a high level with a smoker in the house.  Like many public health warnings, there is no chart or formula, which tells what level of lung cancer occurs to an individual after particular time/lengths of exposure at certain levels.  Rather, the health danger of radon is increases the risk of cancer over a long period of time in a home that has levels above 4 picocuries per liter of air. This is a great month to test your home as homes are rather tight and more likely to show on a test what your most concentrated levels are.  Remember, the only way you’ll know what the radon level is in your home is to test!  Contact your local cooperative Extension agent or call me 907-474-6366 with any other questions or information on where to obtain testing kits.

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