Radon - What Is It?

what is radon

Radon is a radioactive gas. It's completely colorless, odorless, tasteless, and chemically inert. Unless you literally test for it, there is no way of actually telling how much Radon gas is presently in your home.

Radon gas is formed by the natural radioactive decay of radium and uranium in rock, soil, and water. Naturally existing, low levels of uranium occur widely in the Earth's crust. It can be found in all 50 states, with radon levels fluctuating throughout the U.S. Once produced, radon moves through the ground to the air above. Some radon gas remains below the surface and dissolves in water that collects and flows under the ground's surface.

Radon has a half-life of about four days - half of a given quantity of it breaks down every four days. When radon undergoes radioactive decay, it emits ionizing radiation in the form of alpha particles. It also produces short-lived decay products, often called progeny or daughters, some of which are also radioactive. Unlike radon, the progeny are not gases and can easily attach to dust and other particles. Those particles can be transported by air and can also be breathed. The decay of progeny continues until stable, non-radioactive progeny are formed. At each step in the decay process, radiation is released.

 

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Last updated on  Feb 27, 2013