Radon: A silent, killer gas

What is radon? Does it affect me? Where does it come from?

People should learn a little more about radon and the effects it may have on your household, especially your children. People usually think of radon when they have recently purchased a house. As part of some of the preliminary checks, people usually have a radon test done just to be aware of the possible issues with it.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas and comes from the natural breakdown of uranium found in water, rock and earth. As this occurrence happens, radon rises to the surface into homes, water and air. Like carbon monoxide, radon is extremely harmful because there are symptoms of dizziness, headaches, nausea or anything that would alert someone that they are breathing in the deadly gas. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, the first being smoking. It is definitely of great concern for youth because they take more breaths than adults, which means their aspirations are twice that of an adult. This is why radon testing is extremely important because often there aren’t any symptoms related to the gas until a doctor diagnoses one as having lung cancer.

Most people can have a radon test conducted for $100 or less, or you can do it yourself for around $9. If you are buying a home, builders are now working with radon resistance construction materials, which prevent radon from entering the premises.

Every January is National Radon Action Month, but you can do a few things now like getting your home tested and spreading the word about radon awareness. Michigan State University Extension is about bringing knowledge to life.

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