January is National Radon Action Month, and your state and local health departments urge you to learn more about radon—a leading cause of lung cancer—and test for radon in your home. The Norwalk Health Department will distribute free radon testing kits this month, while supplies last. Kits are available to the first 100 Norwalk residents who come to the Health Department lobby on January 8 or 10, 11 am to 1 pm . Limit one per person. The kits were provided as part of the Radon Partnership from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) Lead, Radon and Healthy Homes Program.
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. If you cannot get a kit from the Health Department, some 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), 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 about $1,200. A list of radon professionals is available on the CT DPH website (http://www.ct.gov/dph/radon).
For more information about radon and radon testing, visit the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website or the CT DPH website.
For more information about radon test kits from the Norwalk Health Department, contact Theresa Argondezzi at (203) 854-7977 or call the Health Department's main number (203) 854-7776.