The Connecticut public health department is urging residents to test their homes for radon gas, the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Health officials estimate that radon is responsible for more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.
“Radon is present at elevated levels in about one of every five homes in Connecticut,” public health commissioner Jewel Mullen said last week. “However, because you can’t see or smell radon, people are often unaware that there might be a silent killer in their home.”
The month of January has been designated as the National Radon Action Month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas formed from the natural decay of uranium. It is found in rock, soil and water. While radon in outdoor air poses a relatively low threat to human health, radon can enter homes from the surrounding soil and become a health hazard inside buildings.
All Connecticut homes should be tested for radon and action should be taken to reduce high levels, the commissioner said. She added that testing homes for radon is simple and inexpensive.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that homes with radon levels at 4.0 pCi/L or higher should be fixed. Radon exposure at any level poses some health risk, according to health officials. Homeowners should consider reducing radon levels that are greater than 2.0 pCi/L. Radon problems can be corrected by qualified radon contractors, with costs typically ranging between $1,200 and $1,500. A homeowner should hire a qualified radon mitigation contractor to decrease airborne radon levels.
The Connecticut public health department offers more information on radon on its website, at www.ct.gov/dph/radon
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