In support of National Radon Action Month, the Norwalk Health Department urges residents to learn more about radon—a leading cause of lung cancer—and to test for radon in their homes. To help promote testing, the Health Department will offer free radon testing kits this week. Kits are available to the first 40 people who come to the Health Department on Thursday or Friday, January 30 or 31, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas found in soil, rock, and water. When uranium and radium break down in certain types of rock, radon gas is released and can be drawn into homes and other buildings through cracks and other openings in the foundation. Exposure to high levels of radon gas indoors is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and smokers are at an even higher risk of lung cancer when exposed to radon.
Radon levels vary throughout Connecticut. Because you cannot see, taste, or smell radon, the only way to tell if you have a radon problem in your home is to test for it. Testing involves placing a small device in the lowest level of your home for at least 48 hours and then sending the device to a laboratory for results. If levels of radon are high (4 pCi/L or higher), the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) strongly recommends that homeowners enlist a radon mitigation professional to help lower the levels.
Radon mitigation professionals are trained to reduce radon in homes using ventilation and depressurization systems and other techniques. As with many home repairs, the cost of radon mitigation varies. The CT DPH estimates that the service may cost $1,200 to $1,500. A list of radon professionals is available on the CT DPH website (http://www.ct.gov/dph/radon).
Residents can get their free testing kit by reporting to the lobby of the Health Department at 137 East Avenue in Norwalk on Thursday January 30 or Friday January 31. Supplies are limited to the first 40 people. If you cannot get a radon test kit from the Norwalk Health Department, testing kits are available for approximately $12 from the national American Lung Association of New England (www.lungne.org/products, 1-800-LUNG-USA or 860-289-5401). They are also available online from National Radon Program Services at http://sosradon.org/test-kits.
For more information about radon and radon testing, visit the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website (http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html) or the CT DPH website (http://www.ct.gov/dph/radon).