What Are the Symptoms of Radon Exposure?


Quick Answer

According to Health Canada, radon exposure does not produce any known symptoms outside of those that are associated with lung cancer. These include shortness of breath, hoarseness, persistent coughing, trouble swallowing and tightness in the chest, notes the American Cancer Society.

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What Are the Symptoms of Radon Exposure?
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Full Answer

Radon is a radioactive gas that is found in both soil and in drinking water, usually in very small amounts. Radon densities are much higher in some areas than in others. Health Canada explains that as uranium naturally breaks down in soil, it releases radon gas, which is then able to seep into porous materials such as brick and concrete. This means that it can be pulled into residential and commercial buildings, causing the people inside to inhale the poisonous by-products of radon's fumes.

The threat of radon exposure is a health concern for people who live in areas with high soil densities, because prolonged exposure can lead to lung cancer. People who smoke are especially at risk, notes Health Canada. While water contains trace amounts of the gas, the threat lies not in drinking it, but in inhaling the gas fumes that escape from the water when the molecules are agitated through movement. Short- and long-term testing kits are available that people can place within their homes to measure the average radon concentrations over a period of days or months. If the measurements are found to be quite high, Health Canada recommends having a ventilation pipe installed in the home's basement to divert the radon gas from the indoor air.

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