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State of Tennessee Observes Radon Awareness Week October 16-22

Monday, October 07, 2013 | 04:43am

Educational Events Will Be Held Across the State

Nashville – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has joined forces with the Department of Health and local sustainability directors to help educate Tennesseans about the dangers of radon exposure, encouraging actions to identify and to address radon problems in the home during Radon Awareness Week, Oct. 16-22.

The American Lung Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and various local and county health departments also serve as partners in this outreach effort, designed to raise awareness about the health risk and the importance of testing.

“I encourage all Tennesseans to check for the presence of radon in their homes,” TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau said. “Testing each household is an important step to safeguard homes from the dangers of the 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.

In observance of Radon Awareness Week, educational events will be held across the state to inform residents about radon awareness and the importance of testing individual homes. A limited number of complimentary test kits will be available at each event, while supplies last. Educational events will include:

 

  • Nashville

             Thursday, October 17: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

             Metro Public Health Department

             311 23rd Avenue North

 

  • Knoxville

             Friday, October 18: 10 a.m. -  2 p.m.

             Lawson McGee Public Library

            500 West Church Avenue

 

  • Memphis

             Friday, October 18: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

            Central Library

            3030 Poplar Avenue

 

“The health effects of breathing in excessive levels of the naturally occurring radioactive gas called ‘radon’ can unfortunately, over time, result in serious illness for some people,” Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH said.  “Research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cites radon as the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.  Because radon gas is colorless and odorless, the best way to protect yourself and your family is to use a radon gas kit and, if readings are too high, a qualified professional can be consulted to keep it clear from your home.”

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.

“While radon poses a threat to our community’s health, radon test kits are the first step toward a straightforward solution and are easy to use,” Martineau added. “Radon test kits can be purchased at most local hardware and home improvement stores.”  

To learn more about the dangers of radon exposure, please visit the Tennessee Department of Health’s Healthy Homes website at http://health.tn.gov/HealthyHomes/radon.shtml. In addition to radon tips for the home, the Healthy Homes website offers a comprehensive approach to preventing diseases and injuries that result from housing-related hazards and deficiencies.

For additional information about radon, please visit http://www.tn.gov/environment/sustainable-practices_radon-program.shtml or contact Tennessee’s radon program at 1-800-232-1139.

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