The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants you to know that radon is a naturally-occurring gas that could be seeping into your home right now. Although testing for radon is easy and inexpensive, only one in five homeowners has actually tested his or her home for radon. That figure is too low given that, each year, over 20,000 people die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon; it is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths in non-smokers.
January is National Radon Action Month and EPA and the Surgeon General are urging people to protect their health by testing their homes. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix it and protect yourself and your family. Many areas of New Jersey are at high risk for radon due to their geology, but any home can have a radon problem.
“Radon is a problem that can be easily fixed, and I urge all New Jerseyans to test their homes,” said Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “The great thing about this kind of problem is that it is fairly easy to solve and there are many ways to get help.”
Nearly 80 percent of American homes have not been tested for radon, perhaps because you can’t see, smell or taste it. Yet, it may be the most potent carcinogen in your home. In fact, radon can build to unhealthy levels, especially during colder months when windows and doors are kept closed. The invisible radioactive gas can seep into your home from underground, and can reach harmful levels if trapped indoors.
For about $25, people can purchase a radon testing kit from their local hardware or home improvement store. The kits include a stamped, self-addressed envelope for sending the test canister to an authorized laboratory for analysis. Results are generally sent back to the homeowner within two weeks. If a problem is identified, people should contact their state radon office for advice on how to fix it. Most solutions are simple and relatively inexpensive.
For information about Radon in New Jersey, contact The New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection, 1-800-648-0394, http://www.njradon.org
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