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Exposure to Odorless Gas Can Lead to Lung Cancer; New Jerseyans Are At Risk

Release Date: 01/12/2007
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664 / rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, NY) Did you know that a simple test can protect you from a major cause of cancer? Each year, nearly 20,000 people die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon – an odorless naturally-occurring gas that could be seeping into your home. This exposure can be easily avoided with proper testing and, if necessary, proper ventilation. Yet, only one in five homeowners has actually tested their home for radon. January is National Radon Action Month, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is urging people to test their homes. Many areas of New Jersey are at a high risk for radon due to their geology (maps available), but any home can have a radon problem. EPA has launched a major campaign this month to inform the public through a series of bilingual print, radio, television and Internet public service announcements, available for free to all media outlets.

“There is a simple test to find out if you do or don’t have high radon levels in your home,” said Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator. “Radon is a problem that can be easily fixed, and I urge all New Jerseyans to test their homes.”

For about $25, people can purchase a radon testing kit from their local hardware or home improvement store. The kits include a stamped, self addressed envelope to send the test canister into a local authorized laboratory for analysis. Results are generally sent back to the homeowner within two weeks. If a problem is identified, people should contact their state radon office for advice on how to fix it. Most solutions are simple and relatively inexpensive.

Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that seeps into your home from underground, and can reach harmful levels if trapped indoors. “The invisible and odorless nature of radon makes it a real challenge when trying to raise awareness about is public health risk,” said acting U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu. “Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and it is completely preventable. You can protect your family with a simple first step, and I urge people to take action to prevent radon exposure by testing their homes.”

For a map of areas in New Jersey at a high risk, http://www.njradon.org/radonmap.htm

For information about Radon in your state, please contact the New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection, 1-800-648-0394, http://www.njradon.org

To download print, video or audio versions of the free EPA Public Service Announcement, http://www.epapsa.com/newradon

For more information about Radon Action Month, http://www.epa.gov/radon/rnactionmonth.html

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