Recent research suggests that children who live in homes with high radon levels may have an increased risk of developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia or (ALL). The risk factors associated with ALL are not well understood. In fact, genetic conditions and fetal exposure to X-rays are currently the only known risk factors. However, this new research suggests that elevated levels of radon may increase the risk of ALL during childhood.
As reported in Reuters Health, the researchers found that children exposed to ‘intermediate’ levels of radon had a 21% higher risk of developing ALL compared to children exposed to the lowest levels of radon. Children with the highest radon exposures had a 63% greater risk of ALL compared to those with the least exposure.
So what exactly is radon?
In short, radon is a poisonous radioactive gas. It’s completely odorless and tasteless, and it’s produced by the decay of radium, which in turn is produced by the decay of naturally-occurring uranium present in soil, rock and ground water.
Am I in an area at risk?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a map of radon zones that classify areas of the United States into 3 zones. Red=High Risk, Orange=Intermediate, Yellow=Low Risk. The zones give a general prediction of radon levels. However, you can’t use the map alone to evaluate radon levels in your home. You can absolutely live in a lower risk zone and have your home test positive for high radon levels. The only way to know for sure is to test.
Not only may radon levels be linked with an increased risk of ALL, the EPA estimates that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
What can I do about it?
Test your home. Long term and short term testing is available. It’s fast, easy and will give you peace of mind.
Don’t forget to check your daycare. If your child is in a daycare, ask if the building has been checked for radon. This is especially important if the daycare is located in the basement of a building or a bottom level room. This is because these rooms are more likely to have high radon levels than other rooms. Keep in mind that the lung cancer risk from radon exposure is related to both the radon level and the length of time one is exposed. That is why it’s so important to check your home, their daycare and school since this is typically where your child spends most of their time.
If the levels test high, does that mean I have to move?
Absolutely not! If the testing determines that radon levels are elevated in your home, there is a simple solution. Radon reduction systems! These systems can reduce radon levels in your home by as much as 99%.
To have your home tested and get peace of mind, contact Aadvanced Aair.