Many homeowners wonder, “How does radon gas cause cancer?” upon learning about the presence of the radioactive gas for the first time. That question is understandable since many Pennsylvania homeowners are surprised by the presence of radon in their homes. By damaging the lungs through radiation over long periods, radon induces lung cancer in thousands of people every year.
The way radon causes lung cancer is through the inhalation of the gas. When a person inhales radon gas into their lungs, radon decay products become lodged or trapped in the lung lining, where alpha particles radiate and penetrate the cells of the mucous membranes, bronchi, and other pulmonary tissues. The ionizing radiation from these alpha particles affects the bronchial epithelial cells and initiates the process of the carcinogenesis. In essence, the radiation from radon damages the cells in the lungs, which leads to an increased risk of lung cancer.
Radon also increases the risk of different types of lung cancer and affects children more. Radon typically induces lung cancers in the upper airways. However, radon also increases the incidences of all histological types of lung cancer. Children and young adults are more at risk for radon-induced lung cancer, as during this period of life, more cells are dividing at a faster rate. Children can also have greater exposure to radon due to their smaller lungs and more rapid breathing rates. So while the chemical properties of radon gas cause cancer, the physical properties are what make the gas even more dangerous.
One of the significant reasons why radon is so dangerous is that the gas is undetectable by human senses. Radon lacks any odor, or taste, and people are also unable to see or feel the gas. As a result, many homeowners are unaware of their home’s radon levels. The radon effects also take years to reveal themselves, meaning that most exposure to radon is unnoticeable. Both of these properties lead to radon being a leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Even low levels of radon are dangerous, so to stay safe, test your home for radon. Because radon is undetectable by human senses, testing is the only way to know if the gas is present. Radon levels vary from county to county, and even from house to house, so specific locations require testing to determine radon levels. If you want to keep your family safe by reducing radon levels in your home and the long-term risk of lung cancer, radon testing is the vital first step.
To get your home tested for radon, contact Radon-Rid, LLC. Radon-Rid, LLC is a fully insured, licensed, and certified radon testing and inspection company. We are certified by the PA-DEP (Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection) to perform radon testing services in Chester, Berks, Bucks, Lancaster, Montgomery, Philadelphia & Delaware Counties. Our radon specialists provide quality testing and inspection services to remove the risk of radon in your home. For more questions like how can radon gas cause cancer or to learn about our home testing services, contact us today.
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