January is ‘Radon Action Month’

Radon Action Month Calls Attention to Health Hazard

HARRISBURG — January is “Radon Action Month” in Pennsylvania, and across the country. This is a time of increased public awareness for this serious health hazard. Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally through the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. It seeps into homes through cracks in basements and foundations, and can build up inside to concentrations many times the recommended level.

Radon is the nation’s second-leading cause of lung cancer and is responsible for an estimated 22,000 lung cancer deaths every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). About 40 percent of the homes in Pennsylvania have radon levels above the EPA action level of 4.0 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). While radon problems may be more common in some regions, any home may have a problem. Pennsylvania is particularly prone to elevated radon levels. The only way to know for certain if you have a radon problem is to test your home. The department recommends that all homes, and even public and private buildings get tested.

Radon test kits are available at many home improvement and hardware stores, as well as from Pennsylvania-certified radon laboratories. One can also hire a certified radon testing company, however most people can perform radon tests themselves. Completed test kits are sent to a Pennsylvania-certified lab where the sample is analyzed and the results sent to the homeowner. Homeowners can call the department’s Radon Division for help with interpretation of their test results and what follow-up action(s) may be necessary.

Radon mitigation systems typically cost between $800 and $1,200. These mitigation systems are very successful at reducing one’s radon level and are also very low maintenance. Most homeowners will choose to hire a radon mitigation professional to install the system. A list of state-certified radon contractors is available online at www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Radon, then click on “Radon Services Directory,” or by calling 1-800-23-RADON.

DEP will be airing public service announcements on televison and radion stations throughout the entire month.

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