National Radon Month is January in Darien

Here is a radon test kit to test for the gas in the home. The Darien Health Department is advising resident of the town to test their homes for the gas, especially now that many families are spending more time at home due to the disease, COVID-19.

Here is a radon test kit to test for the gas in the home. The Darien Health Department is advising resident of the town to test their homes for the gas, especially now that many families are spending more time at home due to the disease, COVID-19.

Contributed photo

The Darien Health Department advises residents to test their homes for radon gas especially now that many families are spending more time at home due to COVID-19.

Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that is found throughout the U.S., information from the health department said.

Most of the time, it is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air, but it can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings. Exposure to elevated levels of radon has been shown to cause lung damage and cancer in humans.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year.

Radon is also the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking, and is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

The only way to know if there is an elevated radon level in a home is to test its indoor air. Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and inexpensive.

Radon test kits can be purchased through the American Lung Association. The quickest way to test for radon is with a short term radon testing kit by ordering them online from the association for $14.50 at: https://action.lung.org/site/Ecommerce/1849501153?VIEW_PRODUCT=true&product_id=2421&store_id=7021 &_ga=2.1297138.230587389.1513950885-995632816.1513950885, or at home improvement stores for under $25.

When discovered, radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors at a reasonable cost by the installation of ventilation systems, sealing entry routes for radon gas and, or installing sub-slab depressurization systems to reduce radon levels.

Radon gas is drawn into a house through foundation cracks and openings, such as sump pump pits, and plumbing features.

The lower levels of a home tend to have the highest levels of radon and pose the highest risk.

Radon levels vary seasonally and tend to be higher in the winter months.

The best time to test for radon is during the winter season when the home is closed up and the furnace is running.

The U.S. EPA recommends that homes with radon levels at four or more picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air have mitigation systems installed.

Even if the radon test result is below 4 pCi/L, additional testing should be done at some point in the future, especially if someone is occupying the lower level of a home, or planning a renovation, such as converting an unfinished basement area into living space.

For more information, please Visit the Connecticut Department of Public Health, (CT DPH), Radon Program’s website at: https://portal.ct.gov/dph/Environmental-Health/Radon/Radon-Program for links to the resources mentioned in the above information.