Radon Health Risks


Risk Assessment

Exposure to radon, no matter how much exposure, does not mean you will get lung cancer. The risks associated with contracting lung cancer are in relationship to the amount of time exposed and the average Radon concentration levels.

Most radiation protection specialists believe, (at a minimum), that if you are continuously exposed to levels at or above 4 pCi/L then you are at risk. The US EPA's action level for Radon is 4 pCi/L. The World Health Organization has recently suggested that the action level should be 2.7 pCi/L, 33% lower than the current EPA action level.

The EPA has identified radon exposure as the number one cause of lung cancer in non smokers, and second only to smoking overall. Smokers generally have about 10 times higher risk than non smokers. Risk assessments associated with elevated radon concentrations are considered to be linear, meaning higher levels and longer duration of exposure increase risk assessment accordingly to the increase in concentration and amount of time exposed.

EPA risk assessment data from radon exposure is based on a lifetime of exposure.

  • Not everyone exposed to even high levels of radon will contract radon induced lung cancer.
  • All radon levels can be lowered, which lowers the risk assessment.

Lung Cancer incidence from radon exposure is so prevalent that risk assessment is stated in terms of one in 1,000. Other environmental exposures are stated in measurements of one in 100,000.

Physician's Testimonial on Radon

Please see radon comments starting at 13 minutes 40 seconds on the video.

Does radon cause other health problems or symptoms?

There have not been any scientific studies linking Radon Gas exposure to any other cancers.

Radon Risk If You Smoke

Radon LevelIf 1,000 people who smoked were exposed to this level over a lifetime*The risk of cancer from radon exposure compares to**WHAT TO DO:
Stop smoking and...
20 pCi/LAbout 260 people could get lung cancer250 times the risk of drowningFix your home
10 pCi/LAbout 150 people could get lung cancer200 times the risk of dying in a home fireFix your home
8 pCi/LAbout 120 people could get lung cancer30 times the risk of dying in a fallFix your home
4 pCi/LAbout 62 people could get lung cancer5 times the risk of dying in a car crashFix your home
2 pCi/LAbout 32 people could get lung cancer6 times the risk of dying from poisonConsider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/LAbout 20 people could get lung cancer(Average indoor radon level)(Reducing radon
levels below 2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/LAbout 3 people could get lung cancer(Average outdoor radon level)
Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be lower.
pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter)
* Lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths from EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003).
** Comparison data calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Reports.

Radon Risk If You've Never Smoked

Radon LevelIf 1,000 people who have never smoked were exposed to this level over a lifetime*The risk of cancer from radon exposure compares to**WHAT TO DO:
Stop smoking and...
20 pCi/LAbout 36 people could get lung cancer35 times the risk of drowningFix your home
10 pCi/LAbout 18 people could get lung cancer20 times the risk of dying in a home fireFix your home
8 pCi/LAbout 15 people could get lung cancer4 times the risk of dying in a fallFix your home
4 pCi/LAbout 7 people could get lung cancerThe risk of dying in a car crashFix your home
2 pCi/LAbout 4 people could get lung cancerThe risk of dying from poisonConsider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/LAbout 2 people could get lung cancer(Average indoor radon level)(Reducing radon
levels below 2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/L (Average outdoor radon level)
Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be higher.
pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter)
* Lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths from EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003).
** Comparison data calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Reports.

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