Element poster


Protons- 86

Electrons- 86

Neutrons- 136

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Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and comes from thenatural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium. It is usually found in igneous rock and soil, but in some cases, well water may also be a source of radon.


- an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas that mixes with air
- chemically inert and essentially non-reactive
- heaviest noble gas with highest melting and boiling point
- highly soluble in non-polar solvents
- moderately soluble in cold water
- able to diffuse through rock and soil
- decays by alpha particle emission (T 1/2 = 3.8 days)

Radon's discovery

  1. Radon was discovered by Friedrich Ernst Dorn, a German chemist, in 1900 while studying radium's decay chain. Originally named niton after the Latin word for shining, nitens, radon has been known as radon since 1923. Today, radon is still primarily obtained through the decay of radium.

Other interesting facts!

  • Radon has a melting point of -95 °F (-71 °C) and a boiling point of -79 °F (-61.7 °C).
  • Under normal conditions radon is one of the densest and is the heaviest of known gases.
  • The radioactive health risk of radon and the fact it costs a lot has made it hard for experimental chemical research to be performed. Therefore very few radon compounds have been found.
    • There is a clear link between breathing high concentrations of radon and incidence of lung cancer. After smoking, radon is the 2nd most frequent cause of lung cancer with over 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the US alone.
      • In the 1940s and 50s very little ventilation in mines meant incidents of lung cancer due to radon exposure was high among miners of uranium and other hard rock materials, especially in the Czech Republic and U.S. This lead to an overhaul of mining ventilation systems around the world.
      • Radon naturally occurs in some hot springs and other spring waters.


    Winter, Mark. "Radon: The Essentials." Webelements.com. The University of Sheffield, 1993. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.

    Radon.com." Radon Facts. Air Chek, Inc., 2009. Web. 14 Dec. 2014.

    Illinois Poison Center Blog. "Illinois Poison Center Blog." Illinois Poison Center Blog RSS. Illinois Poison Center Blog, 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

    Matthew Buchanan. "Does Your Home Have High Levels of Waterborne Radon?" Http://radonreductiontips.com/. Word Press, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

    National Radon Defense Admin. "Find Your Radon Specialist." Radon Mitigation & Radon Testing Systems. National Radon Defense Admin, 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.