In support of National Radon Action Month in January, 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 this winter.
Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas found in soil, rock, and water. It can be drawn into homes and other buildings through cracks and other openings in the foundation. Long-term 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 your home for at least 48 hours and then sending the device to a laboratory for results. Testing kits are available for $14.50 from the American Lung Association at www.lung.org or 800-LUNG-USA. You can also get testing kits at your local hardware store.
If radon levels are high (4 pCi/L or higher), the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) strongly recommends that homeowners hire a professional to help lower the levels. These professionals are trained to reduce radon in homes using ventilation and depressurization systems and other techniques. As with many home repairs, the cost of fixing radon problems varies. CT DPH estimates that the average cost of this service is between $1200 and $1500. A list of radon professionals is available on the CT DPH website.
For more information about radon and radon testing, visit the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website or the CT DPH website.