Radon gas – what it is, the health risks, measurement and action levels
Radon gas itself does not present too serious a radiological hazard when breathed in and immediately exhaled. The problem lies with the decay products – the radon daughters – which behave like solids and can attach themselves to dust and moisture in the atmosphere. These solids can take up residence in lungs and airways and emit alpha particles which are known to cause cell damage.
We all breathe in radon to some extent and it accounts for half of the radiation dosage each of us receives. It is not possible to see, hear, smell or taste radon gas.
Outdoors, radon disperses harmlessly into the air, but once it finds its way indoors, through gaps and cracks in floors and walls, it may build up to potentially harmful levels.
The amount of gas released varies greatly depending on where you live and is more likely to be found in areas where the geology features concentrations of granite and limestone.
How radon gets into buildings