Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas. It comes from the decay of uranium and radium that is found in much of the soil in Ohio. The danger from radon is chiefly an internal hazard, meaning that it only poses a threat once it is inhaled. Once inhaled, radon particles lodge themselves into the sensitive tissues of the lung releasing energy and causing damage.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, surpassed only by cigarette smoking. Although radon is natural to the environment, exposure to its radiation at high levels increases a person’s risk of developing cancer. Exposure to radon gas occurs when it seeps through soil and rock, and then through cracks in foundations to accumulate at high concentrations inside homes.
The U.S. EPA recommends you take action to reduce radon levels where the concentration is 4 picocuries of radon per liter of air (pCi/l) or above. Testing has indicated that levels of radon inside homes in Clermont County are typically between 2-4pCi/l. Radon levels can vary significantly depending on the soils underneath your home and is completely undetectable to the human senses, so the only way to know for sure is through simple radon testing. Radon testing is easy and inexpensive, and test kits can be purchased at most local hardware stores.
There are many steps you can take to protect you and your family from the effects of radon exposure. A radon reduction (mitigation) system and using radon-resistant construction features when building a new home are just two ways to minimize the entry of radon into your house.
For information on types of radon tests, and how to interpret test results you can contact the Radon Program at the Ohio Department of Health at 1-800-523-4439.