Test Your Home for Radon-Protect Your Family Against Lung Cancer
January 10, 2017—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month. Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, can be found in homes throughout the country. Radon can easily enter homes from the surrounding soil and build up to dangerous levels that may cause lung cancer in both non-smokers and active smokers.
Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk. By testing for radon and taking steps to mitigate the level of this gas in your home you can reduce your family’s risk for lung cancer. The Sharon Board of Health encourages Sharon homeowners to test their homes to determine if radon might be present and to take steps to prevent long term health problems.
Radon and Your Health
The EPA estimates that radon gas causes more than 20,000 deaths from lung cancer each year. Radon is the primary cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. If you smoke in a home that also has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer may increase more. Since radon is an odorless and colorless gas, testing must be carried out to determine whether it is present. Homes, schools and workplaces with high levels of radon gas may be found in every state, and levels of the radioactive gas may vary from one building to another. Additional information on the health impacts of radon may be found at: https://www.epa.gov/radon/health-risk-radon.
Radon Action Levels
The EPA sets the “action level”-- the level at which a homeowner should carry out further testing of the home and learn about remediation measures--at 4 pCi/L. The average indoor radon level is 1.3 pCi/L, (picocuries per liter). A map of average radon levels at the county level may be found at http://www.city-data.com/radon-zones/Massachusetts/Massachusetts.html. While radon levels across Norfolk County average 2—4 pCi/L, radon levels above 4 pCi/L, and readings below the action level, may be found throughout the area. Testing is the only way to find out if your home or other building has high radon levels. Additional information is available at http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/environmental/iaq/radon-fact-sheet-2016.pdf.
Testing Radon Levels in Your Home
Testing for radon should occur before or soon after you buy a home, and periodically thereafter as radon levels may change. Testing your home for radon levels is rapid, easy, and inexpensive. Simply order a test kit, place it in the home as directed, and send it back to the testing company for further analysis. More information on testing for radon and obtaining a test kit can be found at www.sosradon.org, or call 1-800-SOS-RADON (1-800-767-7236). Test kits can also be ordered on line, through your local hardware or home improvement store. .
For additional information about radon levels in your home, contact the Sharon Health Department at (781) 784-1500, x1140.