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Simple Radon Test Can Prevent Lung Cancer; New Yorkers Urged to Avoid Exposure to Odorless Gas

Release Date: 01/11/2008
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664,

(New York, N.Y.) Did you know that a simple test can protect you from a major cause of cancer? Each year, over 20,000 people die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon, the leading cause of lung cancer deaths in non-smokers. Radon is an odorless, colorless naturally-occurring gas that could be seeping into your home right now. 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) and the Surgeon General are urging people to protect their health by testing their homes. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix it and protect yourself and your family. Many areas of New York are at high risk for radon due to their geology, but any home can have a radon problem.

“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 Yorkers to test their homes."

New York residents can obtain a radon test kit from the New York State Department of Health for $6.75. The cost includes shipping, handling and analysis. Test results are sent directly to the person who submitted the kit. To purchase a radon test kit, call the state’s Radon Program toll-free at 1-800-458-1158 or by e-mail at Test kits are also available in some local hardware stores and from some local health departments. If the test shows that there is a problem, the homeowner should contact their state radon office for advice on how to fix it. Most solutions are simple and relatively inexpensive.

Nearly 80 percent of American homes have not been tested for radon, perhaps because you can't see, smell or taste radon. Yet, it may be the most potent carcinogen in your home. In fact, radon can build to unhealthy levels, especially during colder months when windows and doors are kept closed. The invisible radioactive gas can seep into your home from underground, and can reach harmful levels if trapped indoors.

For radon information in New York, please call 1-800-458-1158 or visit

January is National Radon Action Month:

To download print, video or audio versions of free EPA Public Service Announcements,