January is National Radon Action Month, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is encouraging South Carolinians to become familiar with the risks of radon when it’s present inside a home.
Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that is dispersed in outdoor air, but radon can reach harmful levels when trapped inside a building. Radon can only be detected by performing a home test and, once found, radon problems can be fixed.
“Elevated levels of radon have been found in homes in almost every county of South Carolina. Two homes right next to each other can have different radon levels,” said Rhonda Thompson, Bureau of Air Quality Chief. “The only way to know if a home has high radon levels is to test.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year nationally. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the country after smoking, and the health risks from radon are greater for smokers.
“South Carolina has nationally certified radon contractors who can measure radon and install solutions to reduce elevated radon levels,” said Leslie Coolidge, Coordinator for South Carolina's Radon Program. “Links to lists of credentialed radon professionals and other resources on radon mitigation and choosing a radon contractor can be found online at www.scdhec.gov/radon.”
The South Carolina Radon Program offers a free home radon test kit that can be requested at www.scdhec.gov/radon. Radon test kits can also be purchased from the National Radon Program (www.sosradon.org, 1-800-767-7236) for $15.
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