After all, disaster is right there in the name, calling attention to the significance of turmoil that these natural disasters can create. But when you think of the damage done by a natural disaster, what do you think of, or worry about? Two-hundred-year-old trees uprooted? Broken windows? Flooded basements? Demolished houses? Death? The first four are common anxieties that come to mind when natural disasters hit town and leave a horrible aftermath. Death, though? It seems a bit extreme, doesn’t it? My family isn’t going to die because of a little water in our basement, heck, we could even survive without a roof over our heads for a while, but death just doesn’t seem to be something that needs to be worried about after a natural disaster has hit.
Though it may not seem to be something pertinent one must worry about after a natural disaster like an earthquake has hit, lung cancer, often followed by death, is a serious concern one must have after an earthquake. Why? Radon. Yes, like the element radon, the same radon that occupies the last column of the periodic table and the same radon that you remember talking about in chemistry class. Radon is the silent, invisible, tasteless, and odorless element that is the second leading cause of lung cancer, right behind smoking cigarettes. The radioactive gas seeps through rock and soil, finally entering homes, putting residents at a higher risk for lung cancer.
So, why do you need to be worrying about radon after an earthquake? According to an article from WVTF Public Radio, radon levels can dramatically increase after a natural disaster like an earthquake. According to the article, a home with a radon detector was surveyed after the earthquake that had hit the area, only to reveal that the home’s radon levels had doubled. An earthquake with a high enough magnitude can alter and damage the home’s foundation, allowing radioactive radon to enter the home with even more ease, putting your family at an even greater risk for health complications due to radon exposure.
The bad news: you don’t need to wait for an earthquake to hit to worry about radon, because it could be present in your home at any time. The good news: you can do something about it! Contact a radon professional and get your home tested today, it can mean the difference between sickness and health, and proactively allowing yourself to be informed is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from that evil element with the atomic number 86.