Radon is a radioactive decay product of uranium and thorium, and a direct decay product of radium. It has a half life of 3.8 days making it one of the rarest elements, but despite having a short half life, radon will be present for thousands of years due to uranium and thorium having half lives of several billion years.
When radon decays it produces short lived isotopes called radon progeny. They most common progeny are bismuth 214 (radium C), lead-214 (radium B), polonium-214, and polonium-218 (radium A). These decay products eventually stabilize to form lead.
Radon is most prevalent in basements and crawlspaces due to its high density.
Radon and Health Risks
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, responsible for more than 21,000 deaths every year. Radon is radioactive and has been proven to harm and mutate cells and DNA.
The EPA recommends testing your home every two years even with a radon mitigation system.
The action level for radon is 4 pCi/L which is the equivalent of smoking 8 cigarettes a day.
Individuals with chronic health conditions are more susceptible to the consequences of radon
Children are more likely to experience harm from radon because they breathe faster and their cells replicate faster
Radon can be absorbed through the skin into the blood stream
High indoor radon levels have been proven to causes mutations in oral epithelial cells