DPH Reminds CT Residents to Test Their Homes for Radon
January is National Radon Action Month Raising Awareness of Naturally Occurring, Radioactive Gas that Can Cause Cancer; Celebrate a Healthy New Year with a Radon Test
The Connecticut State Department of Public Health (DPH) is encouraging Connecticut residents to test their homes for radon gas, the leading environmental cause of cancer mortality. Health officials estimate that radon is responsible for more than 21,100 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. Radon measurement and mitigation, when needed, is especially important at this time as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many adults and children spending more time in the lower levels of their homes with telework and distance learning, where radon levels can be higher. Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas formed from the natural decay of uranium, and is found in rock, soil, and water. While radon in outdoor air poses a relatively low risk to human health, it can enter homes from the surrounding soil and become a health hazard inside buildings.
“With more Connecticut residents spending more time indoors at work and school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more reason to test radon levels in your home,” said Acting Connecticut DPH Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford, MD MPH. “Many people are unaware of the harmful health risk of radon in their homes, because it is not a gas you can see, smell or taste. The only way to detect this silent killer is through testing, and that is why the DPH Radon Program works together with local health departments across the state to make sure residents are well informed about these risks. Testing and reducing when high levels are found is critical to protecting against lung cancer and saving your life or the lives of your loved ones. I would encourage anyone with questions to visit our website or check in with their local health department to find out more.”
The DPH Radon Program recommends that the lowest occupied levels of all Connecticut homes be tested for radon. Testing is recommended in the winter months. Testing homes for radon is simple and inexpensive. Thirty-three local health department/district partners were provided 2,075 free test kits for distribution in their local communities to support radon awareness. Visit the DPH Radon Program website at www.ct.gov/radon to view a map of our local health partners and contact them directly to determine your eligibility. Test kits can also be purchased from your local hardware store or the American Lung Association by calling 1-800-LUNGUSA or visiting www.lung.org.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that homes with radon levels at or above 4.0 pCi/L be fixed. Homeowners should consider reducing their potential lung cancer risk by fixing homes with radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. Smokers exposed to radon have a much higher risk for developing lung cancer.
Radon levels can be reduced by hiring nationally certified radon mitigation professionals.
To learn more about radon and to obtain a list of radon mitigation contractors, please visit the DPH Radon Program website at www.ct.gov/radon.