Radon Exposure Duration and Lung Cancer Potential
Radioactive radon gas is a known carcinogen yet the question comes up as to how long does one need to be exposed to develop lung cancer, if ever. Radon is everywhere in the world but the concern is raised when the levels are elevated.
When the human body is exposed to elevated radon levels, not everyone will develop lung cancer. It is radon’s daughter cells also known as radon progeny or alpha particles that pose the threat. When an alpha particle breaks down in the lungs after it’s 3.8 days half life and releases it radioactivity causing damage, minimally it can take 5 years from the onset for lung cancer to develop yet on average, it takes much longer with an average of 15-25+ years. Long term exposure is considered to be many decades yet the concentrations have a lot to do with the lung cancer threat. If radon levels are significantly elevated, the threat increases exponentially.
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