The Greenwich Health Department is offering Greenwich homeowners a deal to test their homes for radon.
January has been designated as Radon Action Month in Connecticut and for the seventh consecutive year, the Greenwich Department of Health, has obtained grant funds from the state to support radon testing and provide Radon-In-Air test kits to residents of Greenwich.
Beginning Monday, Jan. 7, and continuing throughout January, radon-in-air test kits will be offered at a reduced fee of $25 per test instead of the department’s regular fee of $57.
Radon —a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless radioactive gas that is normally harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air—is present at elevated levels in about one of every five Connecticut homes. It can reach harmful levels when it enters and gets trapped in buildings. Radon comes from rocks and soils in the ground and enters your home through small cracks and other openings in the foundation. If you are exposed to radon gas at elevated levels for long periods of time it can cause lung cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend radon abatement measures to be undertaken if indoor radon levels exceed 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is estimated to be responsible for more than 20,000 deaths from lung cancer in the U.S. each year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.
“We are pleased to offer the special radon testing program to Greenwich residents for the seventh year. We continue to offer this program because radon gas is a serious public health hazard," Greenwich Health Director Caroline Calderone Baisley said in a prepared statement. "Therefore, all residents are encouraged to test their homes for radon this winter. Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and inexpensive even when grant funded kits are no longer available.”
The only way to find out if a home has radon is to test for it. The winter season is the best time to test for radon because a home is closed up, and radon levels tend to build up indoors.
To receive the reduced fee radon-in-air test, Greenwich residents can register by calling 622-7843 beginning Jan. 7.
All residents are expected to pick up a radon-testing kit from the health department’s laboratory located on the ground floor of Town Hall, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Once the test kit is obtained, testing should be conducted the same day and returned to the lab 4 days later.
Tests to analyze radon will be conducted by the Laboratory Monday through Friday, with results being reported by mail. All testing results over 4 pCi/L are considered elevated, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and should be considered for remediation.
According to the Director of the Division of Environmental Services Laboratory, Doug Serafin, "Over the past 10 years of the radon program, half of the homes in Greenwich have been found above the EPA action limit of 4.0 pCi/L. Radon, if discovered, can be remediated by qualified contractors for a cost similar to many other home repairs. Several residents who found their homes above the EPA action limit have taken advantage of this program and successfully installed mitigation systems to lower the amount of radon exposure.”
For more information on radon, radon testing and radon mitigation, call the Greenwich Department of Health Laboratory at 203-622-7843, visit the Department of Health website at www.greenwichct.org or visit the CT Department of Public Health website at www.dph.state.ct.us.