Environment and Conservation Kicks Off Radon Testing Education Efforts
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is offering free radon test kits to Tennessee households beginning July 22 through July 30, 2012, as part of an ongoing effort to educate citizens across the state about the dangers of radon exposure. There is a limit of one free test kit per address.
“This outreach effort is our way to encourage action and to help Tennesseans identify and address potential radon problems in their homes with these easy-to-use test kits,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Every household is encouraged to take the important step of testing their home to safeguard the health of loved ones from the dangers of exposure to radon.
To receive a free test kit during this special offer, visit www.tn.gov/environment/ea/radon or mail a request to the Office of Sustainable Practices / Tennessee Radon Program, 8th Floor L & C Tower, 401 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37243.
Additionally, a limited number of test kits will be available at the Division of Ground Water Protection’s local county offices. The nearest county office and contact numbers may be found at www.tn.gov/environment/gwp/contacts. Please contact the local Ground Water Protection field representative to arrange a time to pick up your test kit.
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.
While the kits are being offered in July, 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,” Martineau added. “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 had elevated levels of radon.”
Radon poses a serious threat to our community’s health. Radon test kits are the first step toward a straightforward solution and are simple 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 learn more about the dangers of radon exposure, call the department’s Tennessee Radon Program toll free at 1-800-232-1139, e-mail TDEC.Radon@tn.gov or visit the website at www.tn.gov/environment/ea/radon.