BERNARDS TWP., NJ - The Bernards Township Health Department this week announced the availability of radon detection canisters for residents of Bernards Township, Bernardsville Borough, Chester Borough, Long Hill Township, Mendham Borough, Mendham Township, and Peapack and Gladstone Borough.  

One kit per household is available at a reduced cost of $10 per radon canister to help detect the odorless gas that can cause lung damage. Those kits can be obtained at the Bernards Township Health Department at 262 South Finley Ave., Basking Ridge.  

Each homeowner must come in person to obtain a canister. 

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Kits are available for use in single-family homes only, and not condo or townhouse buildings. Since townhouses and condos have shared walls and spaces it is difficult to get a true reading and to keep "closed house" conditions, according to the health department.

What radon is, potential for lung cancer

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, gas that comes from the breakdown of naturally occurring uranium in soil and rock. Much of Somerset County has a high potential for radon, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Radon gas moves up through the soil and finds its way into homes through cracks in the foundation and openings around pumps, pipes and drains. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to radon may cause lung tissue damage in a way that can eventually lead to lung cancer. 

Any home may have high levels of radon even if neighboring homes do not. Testing homes is an easy method for detecting high radon levels, and homes with high levels can be mitigated. 

"The winter is the best time of year to test for radon since it is heating season and all windows and doors are closed," according to information from the health department. For additional resources visit: http://www.bernardshealth.org/EnvironmentalContaminants.aspx

Residents in the health department's member towns are invited to take advantage of the health department's important opportunity to check the radon level in local homes.