The New Jersey Department of Health is joining with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in urging all residents to protect their family’s health by testing their homes for radon. Governor Chris Christie issued a proclamation declaring January as Radon Action Month in New Jersey.
Radon is a naturally occurring, cancer-causing radioactive gas with no color, odor or taste. It moves from the soil and into homes through cracks and openings in the foundation. Each year, there are an estimated 566 radon-related deaths among New Jersey residents.
One in six New Jersey homes has elevated levels of radon. Currently only 30 percent of households across the state have been tested.
“Testing your home is the only way to know if your home’s radon level is high,” Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett said. “Radon problems can be fixed by installing a radon mitigation system.”
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. It is the leading cause among non-smokers.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 86 percent of radon-related lung cancer deaths occur among current or former smokers.
“The risk of developing lung cancer is highest among smokers who are also exposed to radon,” Commissioner Bennett said. “If you smoke and your home has high levels of radon, your risk of getting lung cancer is especially high. In addition to testing their homes, smokers should also take steps to quit smoking.”
Many New Jersey residents live in moderate- to high-risk radon areas, which vary widely across New Jersey. NJDEP has mapped radon potential by county and municipality. However, all residents are urged to test for radon since high-radon homes have been found throughout the state.
Fortunately, testing for radon is simple and inexpensive. NJDEP has a list of certified companies that provide radon testing services, or residents can purchase do-it-yourself test kits from hardware stores, home centers or directly from certified companies through mail order.
For more information about the NJDEP radon program, visit www.njradon.org, or call the NJDEP Radon Program at (800) 648-0394.
NJDOH’s online resources include an updated fact sheet on radon, smoking and lung cancer and information on radon screening in New Jersey.
Bergen County, New Jersey towns in moderate to low risk radon areas:
- Englewood Cliffs
- Fort Lee
- Franklin Lakes
- Hasbrouck Heights
- River Edge
- Fair Lawn
- Glen Rock
- New Milford
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