Montgomery Township Health Department, and its partners in the Boroughs of Hopewell, Pennington, and Rocky Hill, have designated January as “Radon Action Month,” in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Radon Program.
In announcing Radon Action Month, Stephanie Carey, Health Officer said, “Radon is a serious health risk. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer — and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. But because radon is invisible and odorless it is easy to ignore this potential hazard in our own homes.”
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when uranium and radium break down in the soil and in rock formations. Radon gas moves up through the soil and finds its way into homes through cracks in the foundation and openings around pumps, pipes and drains.
“A significant number of homes in Central New Jersey are predicted to be above the acceptable limits for radon,” Careysaid. “We would like to see as many homes tested as possible, to reduce the radon risk in our communities.
During Radon Action Month, Montgomery Township Health Department will provide Free Radon test kits and education, while supplies last. Kits are available at Montgomery Township Health Department (2261 Route 206, Belle Mead) Hopewell Borough Hall (88 East Broad Street, Hopewell) and Pennington Borough Hall (30 North Main Street, Pennington).
Radon is measured in picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. The average U.S. indoor level is 1.3 pCi/L. At 4 pCi/L, the risk of lung cancer from radon is greater than the risk from fire or other home accidents. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the DEP recommend that action be taken to reduce radon levels if the level in the home is greater than or equal to 4 pCi/L.
Testing for radon is simple and inexpensive. The free test kit program is made possible by a grant from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP Radon Program can also provide a list of certified companies that provide testing services or do-it-yourself test kits – residents can contact the Program at (800) 648-0394 or www.njradon.org. Test kits can also be obtained from many hardware stores.
If the test indicates a radon problem, radon mitigation systems can be installed at a cost similar to that of other home repairs. A list of certified mitigation companies is also available from the Radon Program.
For more information on radon, contact your local health department or the DEP Radon Program at (800) 648-0394 or visit www.njradon.org.