Find out about Radon in your home


January is designated as National Radon Action Month by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. E.P.A.). The Westport Weston Health District (WWHD) encourages all residents to test for radon in their homes. A limited number of do-it-yourself radon testing kits will be available at no charge to residents during the month of January.
 
Radon is an invisible, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas that is formed from the radioactive decay of radium and uranium, which occur naturally in bedrock worldwide. Radon is drawn into the home through cracks and other openings in the foundation, and can accumulate within homes, especially in winter months when the heating system is on and the windows and doors  are closed.
 
Should you be concerned about radon in your home? Yes, the U.S. Surgeon General has warned that exposure to elevated levels of radon in indoor air is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths each year in nonsmokers. Data shows compelling evidence of an association between lung cancer and prolonged residential radon exposure. The EPA estimates that approximately 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States are attributed to radon in indoor air.
 
Exposure to radon does not cause any symptoms, and since it is odorless, you may not know you are exposed. Therefore, all homes should be tested and action should be taken to reduce high levels. The test is simple; itís as easy as opening a package, placing a radon detector in a designated area, and after a set number of days, sending the detector back to a lab for analysis.
 
The WWHD will have available a limited number of free radon testing kits in January during work hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Otherwise, you may obtain kits for a fee from the American Lung Association, at www.lungne.org. For additional information, call Monica Wheeler, R.N. at the WWHD at 203-227-9571, ext. 242.