There are many invisible gases in the periodic table of elements. There’s argon, for example, which is used in light bulbs. And then there’s xenon, which is used in flash photography. Some aren’t entirely dangerous when used in small quantities, but some are incredibly dangerous. Moreover, they are pretty rare, and most human beings aren’t exposed to them. But there is a gas that is incredibly dangerous and very common: radon.
What is Radon?
Radon is a gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the ground. It’s invisible, odorless, and tasteless, and it can enter a home through cracks in the foundation. Once it’s inside, it can build up to dangerous levels.
Unfortunately, radon can be deadly. It’s the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, and it’s responsible for about 21,000 deaths every year. The EPA estimates that radon is responsible for more deaths than drunk driving or house fires.
What makes radon so dangerous is that it emits radiation. This radiation can damage the cells in your lungs, and over time, that damage can lead to cancer. The risk is greatest for smokers, but non-smokers are also at risk.
Places most susceptible to radon poisoning are typically places with a lot of uranium in the ground. This includes places like Colorado, Utah, and North Dakota. But radon can be found anywhere in the United States, so it’s essential to test your home no matter where you live.
Symptoms of Radon Poisoning
Radon poisoning doesn’t have any symptoms in the early stages. By the time you start to feel sick, the damage has already been done.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have radon poisoning:
- Shortness of breath
- A persistent cough
- Chest pain
- Bloody phlegm
If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately.
The only way to know if radon is inside your home is through radon testing. You can buy a do-it-yourself testing kit or hire a professional to do the test for you.
If you decide to do it yourself, follow the instructions carefully. The EPA has a step-by-step guide that can help.
If your home tests positive for radon, don’t panic. There are ways to fix the problem.
How to Fix a Radon Problem
If you have radon in your home, there are ways to reduce radiation exposure. The most common way is to install a ventilation system that will remove the gas from your home and release it into the air outside.
You can also seal any cracks or openings in your foundation to prevent radon from seeping in. And you can install a fan to draw the gas out of your home and release it into the air outside.
If you have a radon problem, it’s essential to fix it as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the greater the risk of exposure and the greater the risk of developing lung cancer. But it isn’t the only invisible hazard you should be aware of. Asbestos is also a hidden hazard and has the same effects as radon.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once used in various products, including insulation, fireproofing, and soundproofing. It was also used in brake pads and clutches.
It is made up of tiny fibers that can become airborne and inhaled. Once inhaled, the fibers can lodge in the lungs and stay there for years. Over time, the fibers can damage the lungs and cause cancer.
Asbestos is most dangerous when friable, meaning it can be easily crushed into powder. When asbestos is in this form, the fibers are more likely to become airborne and inhaled.
Asbestos is no longer used in many products, but people can still find it in older homes and buildings. If you live in an older home, it’s essential to have it tested for asbestos. That’s because radon and asbestos can have the same effect on people. They both cause lung cancer, and both are hard to identify.
Both asbestos and radon can be found in any home, so it’s essential to test for both, no matter where you live.
If you suspect you have either asbestos or radon in your home, the best thing to do is call a professional. They can help you get rid of them if they’re present.
When it comes to invisible hazards, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So if you think you might have either asbestos or radon in your home, don’t hesitate to call a professional and get it checked out. It could save your life.