Governor Bredesen Proclaims January “Radon Action Month”
Nashville, Tenn. – Governor Phil Bredesen has proclaimed January “Radon Action Month” to help educate Tennesseans about the dangers of radon exposure and encourage actions to identify and to address radon problems in the home.
“Home testing kits for radon are simple to use and represent an important step in protecting the health of the household,” said Bredesen. “I encourage all Tennesseans to take action this month to protect their homes and loved ones from the dangers of exposure to radon.”
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep into homes through cracks and openings in their foundations. It cannot be seen, tasted or smelled, but, in concentrated levels, radon can pose a threat to human health. According to Environmental Protection Agency estimates, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States overall.
The best time to test is during consistently cold weather, usually from October to March. This is the time of year when doors and windows are shut, so test results are more representative of in-home exposure. Radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost comparable to that of many common household repairs, such as painting or installing a new water heater.
In Tennessee, radon test kits can be purchased at most local hardware and home improvement stores, through the American Lung Association or by calling the Tennessee Radon Hotline at 1-800-232-1139. Limited quantities of free test kits are available. In addition, the Department of Environment and Conservation has partnered with the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service to make low-cost radon test kits available in every county of the state through the local county extension agent. For a directory of local offices, visit www.utextension.utk.edu/offices.
“Our department’s mission is to help safeguard human health and the environment for all Tennesseans,” said Senior Director for Air Resources Tracy Carter. “Home testing for radon and correcting potential issues are smart ways to protect your home and your family’s health.”
Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L), and the EPA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend homes with radon levels at 4 pCi/L or higher should be fixed. EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their homes for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.