Radon is a naturally occurring gas that forms when certain radioactive metals break down in rocks, soil and groundwater. Though radon is naturally occurring, when people are exposed to it at levels deemed to be excessive, the consequences can be dire. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Many people first learn of radon when buying a home. Home inspectors may ask prospective homeowners if they want radon tests conducted on a home they’ve made an offer on, leaving some to wonder what radon is and how, if it’s naturally occurring, it can pose such a potentially significant threat? That unfamiliarity may lead some prospective home buyers to begin researching radon, which unfortunately is not always so easy. That’s because there exists a host of misinformation about radon, so much so that the Environmental Protection Agency feels it necessary to debunk a host of myths regarding radon.
Myth: Scientists are not sure radon is a legitimate problem.
Reality: All major health organizations, including the CDC and the American Medical Association, agree that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year.
Myth: Radon only affects certain types of homes.
Reality: No home is immune to excessive radon levels. The way a home is constructed may affect its radon levels, but even homes constructed in ways to prevent radon levels from becoming excessive are not immune to high levels of radon.
Myth: My neighbor’s home has low radon levels so mine must as well.
Reality: Radon levels vary from home to home. A neighboring home that is mere feet away from your own may have low radon levels, but that does not mean the homes surrounding it do as well. The EPA notes that testing is the only way to determine if a home has a radon problem.
Myth: Homes with radon problems cannot be fixed.
Reality: House hunters can breathe a sigh of relief if a home they like has been determined to have high levels of radon. The EPA notes that radon issues cannot just be addressed, but addressed in a way that should not bust homeowners’ budgets. Prospective home buyers might even be able to negotiate radon remediation into the terms of their buying agreements.
Myth: Radon is geographically-specific.
Reality: High levels of radon have been discovered in every state of the United States, a country so geographically diverse that it’s reasonable to conclude that no place on Earth is immune to radon.
Radon can be deadly, but thankfully it’s often easily fixed and should not necessarily deter home buyers from making an offer on homes they like.