There are lots of myths and misconceptions out there about radon. Being well-informed is a key step to ensuring you and your family are safe. Here, we will take a look at a few of the most common myths or assumptions we hear on a regular basis.
myth: radon is not dangerous
FACT: Radon has been studied in depth for over a century and the dangers of radon have been clearly established. There have been numerous studies completed which link radon and lung cancer. The link to cancer is agreed upon by the American Lung Association, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Canadian Lung Association, World Health Organization, and dozens of other respected organizations throughout the world.
Radon is responsible for the deaths of approximately 21,000 people in the United States each year.
MYTH: I don't have a basement, so there won't be radon
FACT: Elevated radon levels are found in homes with all types of foundations. There are numerous factors that affect the radon level of a home. The only way to know whether radon levels are elevated in a home is to test that specific home.
MYTH: Radon is not an issue in newer homes
FACT: New homes are vulnerable to radon as much as old homes. Some newer homes are constructed with passive or active radon mitigation systems which can lower the radon levels in a home. This is often done as a requirement of specific counties and municipalities. While there is sometimes a requirement to put the systems in, the homes are usually not tested. Homes with passive and active mitigation systems can have elevated radon levels and should always be tested.
MYTH: Radon testing is expensive
FACT: Radon testing is very affordable. DIY radon test kits are often provided for free by health departments in some regions. The International Radon Association recommends testing by a professional, as there is less room for error, faster turnaround times, and a significant amount of additional data that can be gathered. Professional radon testing is also affordable, though!
MYTH: My neighbor tested and had low radon levels. i should be fine
FACT: Radon levels can vary greatly from house to house. Because there are numerous factors that affect the levels of radon in a home, you cannot rely on a neighbor’s test result to be applicable to your home. Soil composition, radium levels, ventilation, construction materials, atmospheric conditions, foundation type, and numerous other factors affect radon levels. The only way to know the radon level of your home is to test your home.
MYTH: Radon is only an issue in certain parts of the country
FACT: Elevated radon levels can be found in any part of the country. While some states are more prone to elevated radon levels, the only way to know if your home’s levels are acceptable is to test.
MYTH: Children are not in danger when exposed to high radon levels
FACT: Children are at a greater risk of negative health effects when exposed to elevated radon levels than adults. According to the U.S. Department of Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the risk of lung cancer from radon may be almost twice as much for children as it is for adults exposed to the same levels.