Explaining dangerous radon exposure
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that forms naturally when radioactive elements, such as uranium, decay.
These radioactive elements can be found in different amounts in soil and rock throughout the world. Though radon is present outdoors and indoors, it is often present in such small amounts that it does not pose a threat to human health.
However, the American Cancer Society notes that prolonged exposure to high levels of radon can lead to lung cancer.
People who work underground, such as miners, are most likely to be exposed to high levels of radon. People who work in factories where uranium is processed or those who come in contact with phosphate fertilizers are more likely to be exposed to high, and potentially dangerous, levels of radon.
Building materials made from substances that contain radon also can lead to unhealthy levels of radon exposure. However, such substances, which the ACS notes include concrete and wallboard, often give off very low levels of radon.