Governor Haslam Proclaims January “Radon Action Month”
Thursday, January 05, 2012 | 05:15am
Department of Environment and Conservation Kicks Off Education Efforts
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam 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.
In conjunction with Gov. Haslam’s announcement, the Department of Environment and Conservation has joined forces with the American Lung Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and various local and county health departments for an outreach program to raise awareness about this health risk and the importance of testing.
“Tennesseans can check for the presence of radon with a simple test,” said Haslam. “I encourage each household to take this important step to safeguard the health of 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 the foundation. It cannot be seen, tasted or smelled, but in concentrated levels radon can pose a threat to human health. The EPA estimates that approximately 70 percent of Tennessee’s population lives in high risk or moderate risk radon areas. According to the EPA, 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.
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 the 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.
“Testing is such an important step because radon acts unpredictably,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Nationally, about six percent of homes surveyed had elevated levels of radon. In contrast, 16 percent of Tennessee homes surveyed had elevated levels and in some counties, 33 to 75 percent of homes being tested have elevated levels of radon.”
While radon poses a serious threat to our community’s health, radon test kits are the first step toward a straightforward solution and are easy to use. In Tennessee, radon test kits can be purchased at most local hardware and home improvement stores, or through the American Lung Association. TDEC also offers an online system for Tennesseans to order radon test kits at a reduced price, making it easier than ever for citizens to identify and address potential radon exposure problems at home.
To order a radon test kit or to learn more about the dangers of radon exposure, please visit TDEC’s website at www.tn.gov/environment/ea/radon or contact the department’s Tennessee Radon Program at 1-800-232-1139 or TDEC.Radon@tn.gov.