January is Radon Awareness Month and the Glastonbury Health Department, in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), is encouraging residents to test their homes for radon gas. As the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, Health officials estimate that radon is responsible for 21,100+ lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. Additionally, smokers exposed to radon have a much higher risk for developing lung cancer.
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas formed from the natural decay of uranium found in rock, soil, and water. While radon in outdoor air poses a relatively low risk to human health, it can become a health hazard when it permeates building interiors from the surrounding soil.
As an odorless, colorless gas, people are often unaware of the presence of radon in their homes, therefore testing for radon and reducing elevated levels is essential to saving lives and maintaining good physical health.
The DPH Radon Program recommends that all Connecticut homes be tested for radon, particularly during the winter months. Hartford County has overall low radon potential, although naturally occurring rock formations in Glastonbury may create an area of higher risk than other areas of Hartford County. Homes should be tested for radon irrespective of the county classification, as homes with elevated radon levels have been found throughout Connecticut.
Testing is simple and inexpensive, and can be done by using a radon testing kit. The Glastonbury Health Department is offering 50 free radon testing kits for residents to pick up during the month of January, which will be available on a first come, first served basis. The Health Department office is located on the third floor of Town Hall and open Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Kits can also be purchased for a fairly low cost at a variety of home improvement retail stores, as well as through the American Lung Association at www.lung.org.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that homes with radon levels at or above 4 pCi/L be remedied. Homeowners should also consider reducing their potential lung cancer risk by addressing issues in homes with radon levels between 2pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.
Radon problems can be corrected by qualified radon contractors, with costs typically ranging between $1,200 and $1,500. A homeowner should hire a qualified radon mitigation (reduction) contractor to decrease airborne radon levels. To learn more about radon and obtain a list of qualified radon mitigation contractors, please visit the DPH Radon Program website at www.ct.gov/radon. If you have questions about the radon testing kits available to Glastonbury residents, please contact the Health Department at (860) 652-7534.