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What is Radon Gas?

Radon is a colorless and odorless cancer-causing radioactive gas. It forms naturally from the decay (breaking down) of radioactive elements, such as uranium, which are found in different amounts in soil and rock throughout the world. Radon gas in the soil and rock can move into the air and into underground water and surface water.

Being exposed to radon for a long period of time can lead to lung cancer.

Radon gas in the air breaks down into tiny radioactive elements (radon progeny) that can lodge in the lining of the lungs, where they can give off radiation. This radiation can damage lung cells and eventually lead to lung cancer.

Cigarette smoking is by far the most common cause of lung cancer in the United States, but radon is the second leading cause. Scientists estimate that about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year are related to radon.

Indoor radon has links to childhood Leukaemia, Alzheimers and Parkinsons Diseases.

What You need to know

High radon areas in the U.S. tend to be in the northern section of the country due to the types of soils found there. States with high concentrations of radon include Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Maine, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Most or all of these states fall in zone one, which is one designated for parts of the U.S. with the highest levels of radon — four pico Curies per Liter (pCi/L) or higher.
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