Radon's Risks; August 1994; Scientific American Magazine; by Horgan; 2 Page(s)
This very moment you are breathing radon, a naturally occurring gas generated by the decay of trace amounts of uranium found throughout the earth's crust. Should you be concerned? The Environmental Protection Agency thinks so. The agency has declared that five million or so of the nation's 80 million homes may have indoor radon levels that pose an unacceptably high risk of lung cancer to occupants.
The EPA has recommended that all homes be tested for radon and that they be structurally altered to reduce exposure should levels exceed a certain threshold established by the agency. Some scientists have challenged the EPA's recommendations, which could cost homeowners and landlords more than $50 billion if carried out. Critics claim that scientific data gathered to date do not support the EPA's estimates of the health risks from radon.