Darien Health Department – Darien, CT - January 4, 2021
January is National Radon Action Month
The Darien Health Department advises residents to test their homes for radon gas especially now that many families are spending more time at home due to COVID-19.
Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that is found throughout the US. Most of the time, it is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air, but it can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings. Exposure to elevated levels of radon has been shown to cause lung damage and cancer in humans. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
The only way to know if you have an elevated radon level is to test your home’s indoor air. Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and inexpensive. Radon test kits can be purchased through the American Lung Association (see below) or at home improvement stores for under $25.00. When discovered, radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors at a reasonable cost by the installation of ventilation systems, sealing entry routes for radon gas and/or installing sub-slab depressurization systems to reduce radon levels.
Radon gas is drawn into a house through foundation cracks and openings, such as sump pump pits and plumbing features. The lower levels of your home tend to have the highest levels of radon and pose the highest risk. Radon levels vary seasonally and tend to be higher in the winter months. The best time to test for radon is during the winter when the home is closed up and the furnace is running. The US EPA recommends that homes with radon levels at 4 or more picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air have mitigation systems installed. Even if the radon test result is below 4 pCi/L, additional testing should be done at some point in the future, especially if occupying the lower level of your home, or planning a renovation, such as converting an unfinished basement area into living space.
For more information, please visit the CT DPH Radon Program website for links to the resources mentioned in this publication:
US Environmental Protection Agency: Find a Radon Fit or Measurement and Mitigation Professional
American Lung Association Radon Kit Information