Radon: The Cancer-Causing Gas

Radon is an invisible, odourless, and tasteless radioactive gas that is produced in the ground. Normally, it dilutes to virtually nothing in outside air, but our modern homes, schools and workplaces are capturing and concentrating radon to unnaturally high and cancer-causing levels in indoor air. Radon is radioactive and unstable and in a very short period, it decays and emits alpha particle radiation, which severely damages our DNA and causes errors that trigger mutations that drive cancer formation. Since radon is inhaled into our lungs, it mainly causes the formation of lung cancer in humans.

There are three factors needed to incur hazardous radon exposure:

  • Geologic source and pathway (upwards) for radon into a property
  • Building metrics that actively draw up and concentrate radon
  • Human behaviour that enables higher exposure

The only way to find out if you live in a home that has high levels of radon is by getting the home tested. The testing will often comprise of the placing of an ‘alpha track’ device in your home which will register the Bq/m 3 of the indoor air of your home. This is a simple and effective method and should be carried out by a qualified person.