You may not be able to see radon gas, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. The reality is that radon gas is estimated to cause thousands of lung cancer deaths every year.
That’s because as radon gas ages, it decays into radioactive particles. You inhale these particles into your lungs when you breathe the air in a radon-rich area. As the particle decay continues, tiny energy bursts are released that can damage your lung tissue. This damage can eventually lead to cancer.
It’s important to note that not everyone who is exposed to radon gas will ultimately develop lung cancer. Furthermore, those who do develop lung cancer may do so years after exposure. Research into underground miners exposed to high radon levels has provided valuable insight into the risks of radon exposure.
Research shows that smokers who are exposed to radon further increase their chances of developing lung cancer. In fact, research shows that smokers are almost seven times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers when exposed to the same amount of radon.
While cigarette smoking remains the number-one cause of lung cancer in the United States, radon exposure is second. Scientists estimate that between 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States are directly linked to radon exposure each year.
Radon exposure most commonly happens in homes. In the next post, learn how radon gets into homes.