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What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. Radon gas is found throughout the world in varying concentrations. Radon forms naturally from the radioactive decay of Uranium in rock, soil, and water. When radon gas is formed, it migrates through the soil to the air above.
Why is Radon Harmful?
Each of us is exposed to a certain amount of radiation each day, most of which comes from natural sources such as radon. Radon accounts for the largest percentage -- more than half -- of radiation exposure that the average person in the United States receives.
Radon breaks down into solid particles know as radon decay products. These decay particles can become trapped in the lungs and may damage tissue by emitting radiation. Over time, exposure to elevated levels of radon increases a person's risk of developing lung cancer. This is the only known health effect. For smokers, this lung cancer risk is even higher.
Click here to learn more about risk from radon and how to take action if a high radon level is detected in your home.
Portland Fire & Rescue