Elevated Radon Levels Effects on Babies
What is the Effect of Radon on Babies and Pregnancy?
Radon is a carcinogenic gas found in every home, although most homes are exposed to extremely low levels. Radon comes from the earth and travels through cracks and gaps in floors and walls, construction joints, gaps around pipes and even in the water supply of your house.
Radon comes from the naturally occurring breakdown of Uranium in soil and rocks. It can also be found in natural gas and building materials. Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas, therefore detection through testing and analysis is key to preserving your family’s health and safety.
Breathing in Radon causes lung cancer over time as its particles get trapped in the lungs and then breaks down, damaging lung tissue. After cigarette smoking, radon is the most common cause of lung cancer.
Children are at Greater Risk than Adults
Children are more susceptible to radon exposure than adults are. This is because their lungs are smaller, yet their respiratory rates are twice as high. Doctors estimate that by the age of ten, a child will take in twice the amount of radon an adult does when exposed to the same radon levels over the same amount of time. Some even suggest that a child crawling on the floor may be breathing higher radon levels than adults standing in the room due their proximity to the gaseous access points. This suggests adults are at a slightly lesser risk standing up due to dissipation of the noxious gas in the air.
Radon is a Colorless, Odorless, Carcinogenic Gas
Recent research suggests that children who live in homes with high radon levels may have an increased risk of developing childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The research found that children exposed to intermediate levels of radon had a 21% higher risk of developing ALL than children exposed to the lowest levels. Children exposed to the highest levels of radon had a 63% greater risk of developing ALL overall.
Radon is Radioactive Gas
Children are known to be more radiosensitive. Analysis of Hiroshima victims exhibited more incidents of lung cancer among those who were exposed to the nuclear bomb as children. The radiation levels in a single X-ray, if exposed to a woman’s pregnant abdomen in the first six weeks of pregnancy leads to a 50% increase in cancer and leukemia to the child. Radioactivity exposure should be avoided.
Have your Home Tested, Especially if you are Pregnant or Planning Pregnancy
Radiation risk is higher to embryos than it is to children, and higher to children than to adults. Children and embryos are more susceptible to radon-induced cancer due to their rapidly dividing cells and faster breathing rates.
Radon usually affects the respiratory system, but some harmful radon effects occur elsewhere. The main non-respiratory risk of radon exposure to pregnant women exposed to toxic levels of radon gas is the risk of teratogenic birth defects (those that affect the arms and legs, such as malformation or absence of fingers, toes, feet, hands or an entire limb.
The best solution is to have your home tested immediately to ensure your family is not exposed.