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Radon (Chemical Abstract Services Registry Number 10043-92-2) is a radioactive, naturally occurring chemically inert gas. Radon isotopes are members of the actinium, radium, and thorium radioactive decay series. The most stable isotope has an atomic weight of 222 and a half-life of 3.8 days. Radon is widely dispersed in rock and soil, but because of its chemical inertness, easily emerges from the ground and accumulates in enclosed spaces. Radon is a major source of human exposure to background radiation, and epidemiological studies have demonstrated that exposure to radon at high doses is a significant cause of lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Toxicology
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780123864543
ISBN (Print)9780123864550
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Actinium emanation
  • Alpha decay
  • Indoor air quality
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Lung cancer
  • Monatomic gas
  • Noble gas
  • Radionuclide
  • Radium emanation
  • Radon-222
  • Thorium emanation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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