What is Radon?

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It forms from the decay (break down) of the radioactive element, uranium, which is found in soil and rock, right here in Arizona. As uranium in our soil decays and generates radon gas, it moves through the soil and enter our homes through cracks and openings in the foundation into the air we breathe.

Radon-222 is the decay product of radium-226. Radon-222 and its parent, radium-226, are part of the long decay chain for uranium-238. Since uranium is essentially ubiquitous (being or seeming to be everywhere at the same time) in the earth's crust, radium-226 and radon-222 are present in almost all rock and all soil and water.

The amount of radon in the soil depends on soil chemistry, which varies from one house to the next. Radon levels in the soil range from a few hundred to several thousands of pCi/L (picocuries per liter) in air. The amount of radon that escapes from the soil to enter the house depends on the weather, soil porosity, soil moisture, and the suction within the house.
Testing is the only way to know your level of exposure. Radon can have a big impact on indoor air quality.

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Arizona and Radon Gas

Radon presence in Arizona is similar to the national average.

A state indoor radon sampling survey conducted in 1987-89 by the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency suggest that about 1 out of 15 Arizona homes may contain radon concentrations in excess of the EPA recommended action level of 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (4.0pCi/L).  

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