Radon Symptoms

Radon symptoms and Radon Related Illnesses   

Radon gas exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US.  

Radon-related illnesses often show up in the form of respiratory infections. Although respiratory illnesses are the most likely signs of radon exposure, symptoms can manifest in other ways. It is important to recognize specific signs and symptoms of radon exposure so that you can get the medical care and radon exposure remediation help you need.

If you are exhibiting symptoms of exposure to high levels of radon gas, your neighbors may be experiencing similar exposure symptoms. Educating yourself on radon gas exposure and specific symptoms related to exposure will help to ensure the health and safety of all our homes and communities.

As stated above, high exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer.  Between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths occur in the U.S. each year. According to the National Center for Cancer Research, this is the only cancer proven to be associated with inhaling radon. Additionally, it is important that anyone exposed or potentially exposed to radon seek medical help as soon as possible, especially if they are experiencing warning symptoms.

According to the National Radon Defense, the symptoms of radon poisoning/exposure resemble those of lung cancer symptoms.

The symptoms are:

  • a persistent cough that doesn’t get better (months of a deep cough with no sign of improvement)
  • difficulty breathing (onset of new difficulty breathing or increased asthma-like symptoms)
  • chest pains (tightness or pain in the chest, especially when accompanied by coughing)
  • coughing up of blood (Bloody phlegm coming from the lungs should be reported and evaluated immediately by your family doctor.)
  • wheezing (Shortness of breath or wheezing when breathing is important to document when combined with other radon exposure symptoms.)
  • hoarseness (Voice loss or hoarseness when accompanied with other exposure symptoms should be documented so that it can be evaluated by your physician.)
  • recurring respiratory infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis (If you experience recurring or chronic lung infections, it would be wise to look into the possibility of radon gas exposure.)

Radon exposure will most likely occur where there are high concentrations of radon gas.  This usually occurs in poorly ventilated areas where radon gas is prevalent. 

When was radon poisoning first documented?

Scientists first identified radon exposure in a poorly ventilated uranium mine after a high rate of miners began dying of lung-related illnesses in the early 1900’s.  Since radon originates in the soil, the tiny radioactive particles were inhaled at concentrated rates in close quarters and contributed to damaging their lungs and causing lung cancer. Since radon’s discovery, scientists have studied the effects of radon gas and how to mitigate the presence of radon gas.

The risk for radon exposure is at some of its highest levels in the state in the Portland area. The Oregon Public Health Division compiled data from short- and long-term radon tests performed in Oregon homes. Around the Portland area, 32 out of 33 zip code areas showed an elevated risk of radon exposure. Of those 32 zip codes, 12 areas were rated as having a “severe” risk.  Indoor radon levels are influenced by differences in weather, seasons, geology, construction and heating types, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. With all these factors influencing radon levels, results aren’t necessarily consistent throughout an entire neighborhood or even in houses next door to each other.

The Oregon Public Health Division recommends that ALL homes in Oregon be tested for radon.

The only way to find out if radon is present in your home is through testing.

If you sense that radon exposure could be a problem in your home, radon testing is the only way to know for sure.  Contact Healthy Home for an inspection today.