Radon is an element, a colorless and odorless radioactive gas that may be accumulating in your home or business.
We all should. Long term exposure to elevated radon increases your chance of getting lung cancer. Even among cancers, lung cancer is a bad diagnosis. The EPA estimates that over 21000 people die each year from lung cancer that is caused by radon exposure. Not from smoking...from radon exposure. That is over 50 people every day.
But Really, What is it?
It is a decay product of, oddly enough, Uranium (yes the stuff they make into nukes). Over billions of years Uranium decays and goes through a series of transformations called the Uranium Decay Chain. Most elements in the decay chain are solids and therefore largely stay in the earth where they belong. Radon, however, is a gas and therefore rises up through the ground to the surface. When this happens outside it dissipates into the atmosphere and is diluted to what is thought to be a safe level. In contrast, when it rises to the surface under your home much of it will enter your home through cracks and crevices in your foundation or simply through a crawlspace.
Back to the who cares idea...and if you live or work in a building long term with elevated radon you can have several times the chance of getting lung cancer and being one of those 50 per day who die from radon induced lung cancer.
What to do?
You should get your home or business tested. You can buy an affordable kit from Amazon, possibly request a free radon test kit from a local company or your county health department, or hire a radon testing company to come out and do a professional test. You can find out if your health is at risk for somewhere between FREE and $150. Highly recommended. If you find out you have high radon you can contact a local radon mitigation company who will likely be able to reduce your radon levels for $800-$1600.