January 18, 2013 at 8:43 PM
As part of National Radon Action Month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced steps New Jerseyans can take to test and address radon gas. Radon occurs naturally from the decay of uranium in the soil and can accumulate to dangerous levels inside the home. Elevated levels of the colorless, odorless gas are the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. In New Jersey, radon is a problem statewide, in large part due to a particularly uranium-rich geological formation. The EPA is urging people in New Jersey to protect their health by testing their homes.
“Testing for radon is the best way to know if people in your home are at risk from this cancer-causing gas,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. "Radon is a problem that can be easily fixed, and I urge all New Jerseyans to test their homes. If your home is impacted by radon, it is fairly easy to solve."
Although testing for radon is easy and inexpensive, only one in five homeowners have actually tested their homes for radon, yet each year over 20,000 people die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon.
Nearly 80 percent of American homes have not been tested for radon, perhaps because radon can't be seen, smelled or tasted. Radon can build to unhealthy levels, especially during colder months when windows and doors are kept closed. The invisible radioactive gas can seep into homes from underground and can reach harmful levels if trapped indoors.
Homeowners in New Jersey can test for radon themselves or hire a New Jersey certified radon measurement company to perform the testing. Some certified radon measurement companies sell test kits, and test kits are often available in hardware stores or from local health departments. For a list of certified companies, including companies that can mail you a "do-it-yourself" test, as well as information about what to do if a test shows that there is a radon problem, contact the NJDEP Radon Program’s Information Line at (800) 648-0394 or visit the web site at www.njradon.org.
For more information about Radon, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/radon/.