Radon is a naturally occurring odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that is the radioactive decay product of uranium. It varies in amounts from location to location, with some areas showing much higher levels of the gas than others, for instance there is a higher natural percentage of radon in Denver than in Houston, making it more of a concern in those areas with higher concentration. Though it exists outside in levels that are not a risk to health, it does accumulate in confined areas of buildings and homes and is considered a significant contaminant that negatively affects indoor air quality.
Radon is a human carcinogen when inhaled over a period of time. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the United States and second only to cigarette smoking in the cause of lung cancer. Areas of buildings in which there is the least exchange of air with the outside, such as basements and extremely well insulated spaces without windows or ventilation, are the areas of greatest risk of exposure to dangerous concentrations of the gas.
Because radon cannot be perceived by human senses and levels fluctuate naturally, the only way to determine its presence and level of concentration is through testing over a period of days. A high concentration of the gas warrants radon mitigation to reduce and maintain radon levels at safe concentrations, typically by preventing the radon from entering the space by drawing it away from the subsurface of the building. A radon mitigation specialist can recommend the best and most cost-effective method available for a given structure to remove the threat of radon.