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Radon Health Risks

Risk Assessment

Assessing the risks associated with exposure to radon gas is not a simple, straight ahead process. However, there are key factors such as the length of exposure and the concentration level of the radioactive gas that come into play. The risks levels associated with contracting lung cancer due to exposure to radon gas is directly related to to the overall amount of exposure time and the levels of radon present during that time.


Most radiation protection specialists are in agreement that continuous exposure to radon levels at or above 4 pCi/L creates a definite risk situation. The US EPA's action level for Radon is 4 pCi/L. The World Health Organization has recently suggested that the action level should be 2.7 pCi/L, 33% lower than the current EPA action level.

The EPA has identified radon exposure as the number one cause of lung cancer in non smokers, and second only to smoking overall. Smokers generally have about 10 times higher risk than non smokers. Risk assessments associated with elevated radon concentrations are considered to be linear, meaning higher levels and longer duration of exposure increase risk assessment accordingly to the increase in concentration and amount of time exposed.

Health Effects of Exposure

Lung Cancer Risks

Lung Cancer

Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer for non-smokers and the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.

High Toxicity

High Toxicity

According to the EPA, Radon carries 1,000 times the risk of death as any other EPA carcinogen.

Higher Risk for Children

Higher Risk for Children

Due to their higher respiratory rates and smaller lung size, children are at greater risk of radon induced lung cancer. Children are at 20x higher risk of developing lung cancer when exposed to Radon and cigarette smoke than adults.

Annual Deaths

Annual Deaths

The EPA estimates that 21,000 people die each year in the US from lung cancer caused by Radon exposure.

Rapid Death Toll

Rapid Death Toll

Radon kills one person every 25 minutes.

EPA risk assessment data from radon exposure is based on a lifetime of exposure.

  • Not everyone exposed to even high levels of radon will contract radon induced lung cancer.
  • All radon levels can be lowered, which lowers the risk assessment.

Lung Cancer incidence from radon exposure is so prevalent that risk assessment is stated in terms of one in 1,000. Other environmental exposures are stated in measurements of one in 100,000.

Physician's Testimonial on Radon

Please see radon comments starting at 13 minutes 40 seconds on the video.

Does radon cause other health problems or symptoms?

There have not been any scientific studies linking Radon Gas exposure to any other cancers.

Radon Risk If You Smoke

Radon Level If 1,000 people who smoked
were exposed to this level over a lifetime*
The risk of cancer from radon
exposure compares to**
WHAT TO DO:
Stop smoking and...
20 pCi/L About 260 people could get lung cancer 250 times the risk of drowning Fix your home
10 pCi/L About 150 people could get lung cancer 200 times the risk of dying in a home fire Fix your home
8 pCi/L About 120 people could get lung cancer 30 times the risk of dying in a fall Fix your home
4 pCi/L About 62 people could get lung cancer 5 times the risk of dying in a car crash Fix your home
2 pCi/L About 32 people could get lung cancer 6 times the risk of dying from poison Consider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/L About 20 people could get lung cancer (Average indoor radon level) (Reducing radon levels below 2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/L About 3 people could get lung cancer (Average outdoor radon level) (Reducing radon levels below 2 pCi/L is difficult.)
Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be lower.
pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter)
* Lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths from EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003).
** Comparison data calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Reports.

Radon Risk If You've Never Smoked

Radon Level If 1,000 people who have never smoked were exposed to this level over a lifetime* The risk of cancer from radon
exposure compares to**
WHAT TO DO:
Stop smoking and...
20 pCi/L About 36 people could get lung cancer 35 times the risk of drowning Fix your home
10 pCi/L About 18 people could get lung cancer 20 times the risk of dying in a home fire Fix your home
8 pCi/L About 15 people could get lung cancer 4 times the risk of dying in a fall Fix your home
4 pCi/L About 7 people could get lung cancer The risk of dying in a car crash Fix your home
2 pCi/L About 4 people could get lung cancer The risk of dying from poison Consider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/L About 2 people could get lung cancer (Average indoor radon level) (Reducing radon levels below 2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/L   (Average outdoor radon level) (Reducing radon levels below 2 pCi/L is difficult.)
Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be higher.
pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter)
* Lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths from EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003).
** Comparison data calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Reports.

Testing

The first step to help ensure the safety of you and your family’s health and safety is to have your home tested for radon. At St. Louis Radon, our professional testers deploy the latest in computerized electronic real-time radon monitoring technology to provide you with a comprehensive report, including a complete visual graph of radon level data points as recorded over a 48-hour sampling period.

Learn More About Testing

Mitigation

If testing indicates levels of radon that require action, our team of engineers and technicians will design and install a custom radon mitigation system to safely and effectively redirect radon and other soil gasses out of your home. We also take additional measures to seal and close other possible breaches in the foundation that could let soil gasses into the through cracks or drain tiles systems.

Learn More About Mitigation

New Construction

With new home construction projects, it is crucial to determine the level of radon that may be present in the soil before the home is built. It’s also critical to have the new home retested for potential radon concentrations immediately following occupancy. We also highly recommend installing an Active Dampness Control System (ADC) with every new build.

Learn More About New Construction