January is National Radon Action Month

Vermont Offers Free Radon Home Test Kits

For Immediate Release:  Jan. 5, 2010
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – The winter heating season is the best time to test homes for radon, a colorless, odorless gas present at elevated levels in about one out of every seven homes in Vermont. Prolonged exposure to radon is the second leading cause (after smoking) of lung cancer in the United States, and is responsible for more than 20,000 deaths annually.

The Health Department is encouraging Vermonters to test their homes for radon in January as part of National Radon Action Month.

“Exposure to radon is preventable and fixable through proper venting techniques,” said Austin Sumner, MD, State Epidemiologist for Environmental Health.

The cost of having a certified professional properly ventilate a home can range from $800 to $2,500, depending on the home’s characteristics.

Radon gas can get into your home from the soil and the water supply. A house can act like a large chimney, with warm air rising and escaping out upper floor windows and through cracks in the attic. This creates a vacuum at the lowest level of the house, which can pull the radon from the soil into the house.

Because radon levels can change daily, weekly and seasonally, a test of three to 12 months (ideally including a heating season) gives the most accurate measurement of exposure. Radon testing should be done in the lowest level of living space in the house.

For a free test kit, email your request to radon@vdh.state.vt.us. Put the words “radon test kit” in the subject line of your email and be sure to include your name, phone number, and both your mailing and physical address, or call 1-800-439-8550.

For more information about radon, radon testing and mitigation, and radon resistant new construction, please visit the Health Department website at www.healthvermont.gov.

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