What is Radon?


Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas. When radon gas is inhaled, the radioactive particles remain in the lungs. As radon gas decays further, it releases additional radioactive particles that can adhere to dust, which is also easily inhaled. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer (after tobacco) in smokers.

Radon is a naturally occurring byproduct of the decay of thorium and uranium. Radon is found in high concentrations in igneous rocks, such as granite. This is why Minnesota, situated on the granite-rich Canadian Shield, has higher levels of radon.

The concentration of radon in a home or a business increases when the home is tightly sealed. Due to Minnesota’s extreme temperature fluctuations, many homes remain sealed in both the summer and winter months. With the addition of snow on the ground in the winter, the easiest place for radon to escape the soil is through your home’s foundation – even when your foundation doesn’t have any cracks. It can enter through spaces behind brick veneer walls that rest on uncapped hollow-block foundations, pores and cracks in concrete blocks, exposed soil, as in a sump or crawl space, and many other avenues outlined in our post entitled, “How Does Radon Enter My Home or Business?