Discounted radon test kits available

Winter is the best time to test for radon and the Greenwich Department of Health is calling residents to test their homes.

For the tenth consecutive year, the department has obtained grant funds from the state to support radon testing and provide radon-in-air test kits. Throughout March, radon-in-air test kits will be offered at a reduced fee of $25 per test.

Radon is present at elevated levels in about one of every five Connecticut homes. Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, radioactive gas that is normally harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air, but can reach harmful levels when it enters and gets trapped in buildings. Radon comes from rocks and soils in the ground and can enter a home through small cracks and other openings in the foundation.

The winter season is ideal to test for radon because houses are closed up, and radon levels tend to build up indoors.

A person can develop lung cancer if they are exposed to radon gas at elevated levels for long periods of time. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking, and it is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is estimated to be responsible for more than 20,000 deaths from lung cancer in the US each year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.

“We continue to offer this program because radon is a serious public health hazard,” town Director of Health Caroline Calderone Baisley said. “Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and inexpensive even when grant funded kits are no longer available.”

To receive the reduced fee radon-in-air test, Greenwich residents can register by calling 203-622-7843.

All residents may pick up a testing kit from the Department’s Laboratory located on the ground floor of Town Hall during laboratory hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Once the test kit is received, testing should be begun the same day and the kit should be returned to the lab four days later.

Analysis will be conducted by the Laboratory Monday through Friday, and results will be 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.

Doug Serafin, Director of the Division of Environmental Services Laboratory said, “Because you can’t see or smell radon, people tend to downplay the health effects and ignore the possibility that there might be a silent killer in their homes. Over the past ten years of the radon program, half of the homes in Greenwich have been found to be above the EPA action limit of 4.0 pCi/L… A number of residents who learned that their homes were 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.

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