What Does Radon Exposure Do to Your Lungs
So by now, most people have at least heard about the dangers of long term exposure to Radon gas.
But many do not have a clear understanding as to why exactly it is harmful to you and your lungs. We’ve all heard that Radon gas exposure is the 2nd leading cause of Lung Cancer — second only to cigarette smoking. But just how much does that really affect you and your loved ones?
Sharing some personal background with you…..my Father-In-Law was a lifetime smoker of filterless cigarettes! He started smoking as a very young man after being drafted into the Army to serve in the Korean War. At least that is what he would admit to 😊 and he smoked his entire life. During his lifetime he fought many battles as he ended up being a diabetic. He is now passed away and although he was not healthy when he died, never once did he get Lung Cancer!!
Flip side. Over the last 20 years, I have come to know 2 women, both young and healthy, both non/never smokers that succumbed to the deadly disease. One was a homemaker and the other an elementary school teacher. So what does all of this mean???
I often refer to the ad campaign for heart disease……Food and Family. Well, in the case of Radon exposure, you have exposure levels and your DNA! Yes! You cannot discount one’s DNA and what our genetic makeup predisposes us to. We can control our exposure to toxins such as elevated Radon gas levels, we cannot control our DNA.
Our bodies are exposed to toxins daily. From the food we eat (pesticides/processed) to the air we breathe outside(lawn applications/smoke etc). A healthy body will process these toxins and eliminate them from our bodies keeping us safe. While in other cases our bodies will succumb to the overall exposure and cause illness.
In the case of Radon gas, the danger is actually in the decomposition of the gas. Radon has a half-life (it breaks downs in just under 4 days), and when it breaks down it releases Alpha particles. Now, we’ve all had some form of exposure one way or another. From dental x-rays, CT scans, Mammography etc.
These types of rays are much larger in nature. They are referred to as Beta particles and they bounce off of our bodies for the most part. In the case of Alpha particles, they are microscopic in nature and you do not know they are there. Those microscopic particles attach to dust and smoke in the air.
When we take a breath, these particles enter our bodies. Every single one of our bodies. No one is immune. Over a long period of time, again dependent on our DNA, with the right exposure levels and the right predisposition to disease, those Alpha particles can become embedded into lung tissue causing Lung Cancer.
Our homes are the single largest source of Radon Gas. As the gas emits from the soil and rock formations in the Earth, it naturally enters our homes simply by seeping through our foundation, entering through cracks and windows, gaps in foundations around pipes and wires etc.
In closing, control what you can control!! Do you buckle up when in an automobile? Do you wash your produce from the store? Do you try and use organic products and/or groceries? Well then why or why would you not at least test your home for Radon gas levels??!?
I hope this gave you all something to ponder. It is not intended to frighten anyone. It is intended to teach and instruct and provide valid information. Control what you can control, and give us a holler with YOUR Radon questions or concerns.
**If you have found this article to be helpful, consider sharing it on your social media page. Christopher Bice is the founder of Guardian Radon Mitigation & Electrical Services, LLC. Christopher is an Illinois licensed Radon Mitigation Professional, licensed through IEMA.Back To Blog