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Take Action on Radon

Posted: February 8, 2016

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the Township of Randolph Health Department encourage all homeowners to test the air in their homes for the presence of radioactive radon gas.

Radon is a serious health risk. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer—and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Each year about 21,000 Americans die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon gas.

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when uranium and radium break down in the soil and in rock formations. Radon gas moves up through the soil and finds its way into homes through cracks in the foundation and openings around pumps, pipes and drains. If ignored, it can be a potential hazard.

Radon is measured in picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. The average U.S. indoor level is 1.3 pCi/L. At 4 pCi/L, the risk of lung cancer from radon is greater than the risk from fire or other home accidents. The NJDEP recommends that action be taken to reduce radon levels if the level in the home is greater than or equal to 4 pCi/L.

Fortunately, testing for radon is simple and inexpensive. The NJDEP radon program maintains a list of certified companies that provide testing services or do-it-yourself test kits. Residents can contact their toll-free information line at 800.648.0394 or visit their website. Test kits can also be obtained from many hardware stores.

If the test indicates a radon problem, radon mitigation systems can be installed at a cost similar to that of other home repairs.