Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services in recognition of January as National Radon Action Month, warns residents that elevated levels of radon gas in their homes pose a serious health risk.
"Exposure to indoor radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking," noted DES Commissioner Mike Nolin. "Since elevated levels of radon gas can occur in one out of every three homes in New Hampshire, I encourage all New Hampshire residents to test for radon to protect themselves from this dangerous gas."
Radon, a natural decay product of uranium, is a radioactive gas released from rock, soil, and water. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Radon is classified by EPA as a carcinogen, causing about 21,000 deaths from radon-induced lung cancer in the US annually. EPA designates January as National Radon Action Month to raise awareness about radon and send the message that all homeowners and all homebuyers should test for radon.
"Winter is the perfect time to test for radon in homes," said Nolin. "Radon tests are inexpensive and readily available. I urge all residents to test for radon, not only in the air but in their water if they have drilled wells, and take appropriate steps to reduce harmful levels."
If elevated levels are detected, there are various methods for reducing radon concentrations to acceptable levels. While there are costs involved in fixing a radon problem, it is money well spent when considered against the fact that lung cancer has only a 15% survival rate five years after diagnosis.
For more information on the health risk posed by radon and how to test it, contact Dave Chase, DES Radon Program Manager, at 271-4764.