Guarding Little Lungs: Radon Awareness for Moms of Asthmatic Children


If you have purchased or sold a home in the last few decades, you may have already heard of radon, the odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that begins as uranium. Dissipated in the outside air, radon is relatively harmless. However, when trapped inside the confines of a house, long-term radon exposure can be harmful and even deadly.

A 2022 study by the National Institute for Health (NIH) found that prolonged radon exposure could lead to asthma-like symptoms and other respiratory issues in children. For children already stricken with asthma, radon exposure could exacerbate their condition and cause attacks. Any parent with an asthmatic child knows how scary the condition can be and the multitude of triggers for asthma attacks. By learning about radon exposure and taking proper steps to lessen the risk of long-term exposure, parents can effectively eliminate radon as a potential trigger for their children with asthma.

Recognizing the symptoms

There are several key indicators that parents should watch for if they are concerned about radon exposure. These symptoms include persistent cough, hoarseness, wheezing, and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, long-term exposure may even manifest as coughing up blood or experiencing chest pains. 

Parents of asthmatic children should pay particular attention to the presence of radon in their homes. There is no widely-used medical test that can directly pinpoint the presence of radon in the body. When parents suspect radon exposure, doctors can test to assess the onset of asthma or worsening of asthma symptoms.

Testing for radon

To keep your little ones safe from radon and minimize the potential aggravation of their asthma, it is crucial to test for the presence of radon. There are multiple ways to test for radon. For example, Ecosense offers the award-winning EcoQube, which provides real-time radon reading every 10 minutes, and also continuous radon monitoring for your home. While a one-time test, using charcoal test kits can provide an average concentration level over a period of time, radon levels change all the time. Radon levels are affected by various factors, including weather changes such as temperature, humidity, and barometric air pressure, which can cause fluctuations within a single day. The EPA suggests continuous radon monitoring for homeowners to ensure ongoing safety.

Because radon typically enters from the soil below and around the home’s foundation, concentrations tend to be higher in rooms with ground contact. However, the gas can be found in all areas of the home, which is another reason why continuous monitoring is suggested. With a digital monitor like EcoBlu that can easily be moved to sample the air in multiple areas of the home sequentially, homeowners can conveniently see what the radon levels are in different parts of the living space.

What to do with a high level of radon?

So, what should parents do if high radon levels are detected within their home? Mitigation options are available if radon rises beyond the EPA’s suggested action level of 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). A vent-and-pipe system with an inline fan is the most relied-upon method for reducing indoor radon concentrations. These systems prevent the soil gas from entering the home by venting it to the outside air above the roofline, where it quickly dissipates.

Radon monitoring systems are still a good call, even with a mitigation system in place. These continuous sampling devices give homeowners peace of mind that the radon levels are not continuing to rise and that radon exposure will worsen their children’s asthma symptoms. If planning any construction or renovation projects, it is also a good idea to have monitoring in place. Any disruption of the ground or alterations to your HVAC can result in radon being drawn into the home, even with a mitigation system in place.

It is essential to test your home for radon and check its levels, regardless of whether you have just purchased it or lived in it for a long time. Children with asthma or other respiratory issues can be negatively affected by long-term radon exposure. With continuous monitoring efforts and mitigation options, parents can keep their children — and their houses — safe.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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