The “Radon Daughters”: Not Child’s Play
October 16, 2017

The “Radon Daughters”: Not Child’s Play

As a reader of this blog, you’re already aware of the risk posed to you and your family by radon, a colorless, odorless gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. What you may not yet be aware of is that radon, as an unstable element, goes through a process of radioactive decay, during which it produces other radioactive elements called “radon daughters” (also known as radon progeny).

Unlike the gaseous radon itself, radon daughters are solids and stick to surfaces such as dust particles in the air. If contaminated dust is inhaled, these particles can cause lung cancer. The radon daughters are hazardous because of the particles (called alpha radiation) that they emit. When radon daughters are breathed and deposited into the lungs, the alpha radiation can harm sensitive lung tissue, and may cause lung cancer after years of exposure. Beta and gamma radiation are also associated with the radioactive decay of radon gas, but ordinarily are not present in sufficient enough quantities to cause harm.

Radon daughter particles have a tendency to attach themselves to airborne particles such as dust, smoke, and water vapor. These particles are fine enough to reach the deepest parts of the lungs when inhaled and the alpha radiation emitted can do great damage.

Sampling for radon daughters involves the use of sampling pumps and special filters. Radon daughters are collected on the filter, which is evaluated by measurement of alpha radiation. It should be clear, then, that not only is radon itself dangerous, but that if allowed to linger, its “daughters” present their own risks. Luckily, Radon Crew has you covered every step of the way in dealing with radon in your home. Call today at 605-336-1000 to keep your home radon-free and your family safe and sound.


Note: This article adapted from information found via Wikipedia and the US Dept. of Labor, MSHA.