Radon gas is becoming more of a widespread problem in the United States. In the U.S., one in 15 homes are affected by elevated radon levels. Radon cannot be seen, it has no scent, and is colorless. Radon invades homes and buildings through foundation cracks and openings and even directly through concrete.
Radon gas is considered a carcinogen that comes from decayed radium and uranium in the soil. It is the number 1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and causes people that do smoke a greater chance of being diagnosed with lung cancer when exposed to this deadly gas. The EPA suggests levels of 4 pCi/L (picocuries) and above be addressed a level of 4 pCi/L is equivalent to eight cigarettes a day or 250 chest x-rays per year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that 3 percent of lung cancer cases are caused by radon and suggests people take action against levels higher than 2.7 pCi/L.
The purpose of National Radon Action Month is to educate people about radon gas, its health risks, how to test homes for radon and what actions need to be taken if there are high levels of radon present. Radon is a problem that affects millions of homes, day care centers, schools and buildings across the country.
This is the time to get informed in order to stay safe and healthy in the place you spend most of your time. Check with your local health department and home improvement store for test kits.
For New York state’s Department of Health radon information page, including instructions about ordering a radon test kit, visit www.health.ny.gov/environmental/radiological/radon/radon.htm or call 518-402-7556.