According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Radon Program, 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 New Providence are predicted to be above the acceptable limits for radon,” said Mayor Al Morgan. “We would like to see as many homes tested as possible, to reduce the radon risk in New Providence.”
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.
Fortunately, testing for radon is simple and inexpensive. The DEP Radon Program can 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 the DEP Radon Program at (800) 648-0394 or visit www.njradon.org.