Radon, an odorless, colorless radioactive gas, is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer (after tobacco) in smokers.
There are approximately 21,000 deaths per year in the US due to radon-induced lung cancers.
The Environmental Protection Agency has equated radon exposure to smoking, making it easier for people to understand what their radon exposure is doing to their lungs. According to the EPA, exposure to 1 pCi/L of radon is equivalent to smoking 2.5 cigarettes a day.
No one would give their children 2.5 cigarettes a day, but if you have children who sleep in areas of high radon concentration, they could be experiencing the equivalent damage to their lungs.
Risk of adverse health effects increases with prolonged exposure, so if you do have basement bedrooms or a lower-level office space, you should immediately seek radon testing to ensure you aren’t needlessly exposing yourself, your family, or your employees to high levels of radon gas.