Radon is an extremely radioactive element belonging to the class of noble gases. It has an atomic mass equal to 222u and an atomic number equal to 86. It is highly inert and stable and has a relatively short half-life of only 3.8 days. As soon as it is produced it starts to undergo decay hence further dividing into two parts. The first half part is a radiation whereas the second half consists of components termed as “the radon daughter elements”.
The most prominent sources of radon production are the disintegration of other radioactive matter such as Uranium, Polonium, and Thorium under the surface of the Earth. Being highly radioactive in nature, they have a characteristic of being highly permeable. They have the ability to even pass through solid concrete blocks.
As soon as radon is produced it passes through the surface of the earth and makes its way into the atmosphere. Due to the presence of natural water reservoirs underground this radon also dissolves in this water and when the water is drawn out to be utilized the radon makes its way out of the underground. The entrance of this contaminated air and water is the main source of radon in homes. Hence there are two types of radon in homes:
- Poisoning through the air.
- Poisoning through contaminated water.
Radon is listed as the major cause of lung cancer in non-smokers claiming around 20,000 lives each year. Researchers and case studies provide evidence of the fact that long-term exposure to high concentrations of radon is life-threatening. There are two main ways in which radon enters the body, the first passage is via the air canal when a person inhales the air hosting large concentrations of radon and the second way is through the consumption of radon-contaminated water.
As soon as radon containing air is inhaled the radon particles start to adhere and accumulate inside the lungs and start to decay. The radiation produced as a result of this disintegration release small blasts of energy leaving the delicate lung tissues damaged and at a high stake in developing lung cancer. In a similar manner, when radon-containing water is consumed it affects the internal organs, digestive system and the circulatory system as it uses the bloodstream to travel within the body.
Established that Radon in home and its accumulation is an alarming situation one needs to be well aware of the precautionary and preventive measures that need to be taken to avoid any risk. One of the most formidable steps in this regard is to ensure good ventilation and air crossing in homes. This helps to remove the stale air and allows the entrance of fresh air which makes sure that any amount of radon in the home is not accumulated and exits the space. Another important measure is to perform radon detection tests every now and then to keep a check on the radon fixation in the surroundings. If the test results indicate a radon level higher than 4 picocuries per liter it is time to get help and perform radon mitigation to decrease the radon concentration.