Children's Page: Science Sue Talks About Radon
Radon? What's that?
- Radon is a natural colorless, odorless gas that comes from various rocks, soils, and
underground water sources.
- Radon comes from the breakdown of uranium and radium,
and is virtually everywhere.
- Uranium and radium may be found in
almost all soil and rock types, but are most often associated with those containing
granite, shale, and phosphate.
- This breakdown gives off radiation (radiation is the process
of giving off energy in waves or particles) that can cause lung cancer.
Can Radon affect my Health?
- The Surgeon General has said that radon exposure is the second leading cause
of lung cancer deaths in the United States, after smoking.
- Radon is the first leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
- Lung cancer is a disease of a person's lungs,
where the cells are damaged, and then replicate
- Radon is
a silent killer, since people cannot tell if they are being exposed.
- The best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer due to radon is to reduce your
exposure to radon.
How can I be exposed to radon?
- Radon gas is continuously released from the earth.
- Outdoor concentrations are
generally very low and insignificant.
- Any home, old or new, may have elevated radon levels.
- Radon and other gases can enter a home through foundation
cracks, openings for pipes, wall/floor joints, chimneys, sumps,
unfinished crawl spaces, and hollow, concrete block foundations.
Radon concentrations increase as this gas is trapped in
a poorly ventilated, enclosed building space.
- Usually eighty percent of any radon entering a house comes from the soil or rock
on which the building is constructed.
- Some radon gas my enter through the water supply pipes.
- A small percentage may be emitted from
materials used in construction of the house itself.
How Do I Tell if Radon is in my House?
- The only way to know if you have radon in your house is to test it.
- Your parents can buy a radon test kit at a home improvement store or
online from about $20-$40, or could hire a state of
Florida certified radon measurement specialist.
- Please follow the directions on the test kit.
- The home should be closed for about 12 hours before the test begins.
- The test should be in the lowest habitable space of the home (a living
room or bed room)
- Test kits should not be placed in the kitchen, bathrooms, or closets
What can be done if we find elevated radon levels in
- Elevated radon levels can be fixed by a Florida certified
- Active Soil Depressurization is one of the most common methods
used, and is the most energy efficient method
- Another alternative used on apartments and condominiums is
ventilation or pressurization
What Can I Do about Radon?
You can tell your family about radon, do more research to learn more about
radon, test your home with an in-home test kit, spread the word at your
school (maybe doing a science project, paper, or
poster on radon), and be just aware of
View one of the 2009 EPA Radon Video Contest Winners
A video about radon, by a middle school student from New York, Alejandro
Torres, entitled "A Radon Story". You can
view the video (5.5 MB *ZIP file opens in a new window), or read the transcript (8
KB PDF opens in a new window).
Where Can I Get more Information on Radon?
The EPA website is an excellent source of information.
Just visit http://www.epa.gov/radon
You may contact the Florida Department of Health radon program at 1-800-543-8279, or the Environmental Protection Agency Radon Hotline 1-800-SOS-RADON.
Other helpful and fun websites are:
EPA's Teacher and Children's page
Radon Awareness Program -
Science Fair Projects Ideas (Jr. High to High School)
Activities for kids