January is National Radon Action Month

Radon gas is highest in the lower levels of your house.

County Residents Are Encouraged to Test their Homes for Radon, the Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer

During the month of January, Montgomery County is joining a nationwide effort to educate homeowners and renters on the dangers of radon gas and the importance of testing every home.  Radon Action Month focuses on the steps everyone can take to help ensure their home is safe and radon free. “I encourage every resident to have their home tested for radon,” said County Executive Ike Leggett.Because you cannot see or smell radon, people may not be aware that there might be a risk in their homes.”    

Radon and Your Health

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon is responsible for roughly 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year.  It is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the number one cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. January is an especially good time to test homes for radon because windows and doors are closed tightly and people spend more time indoors. Testing typically happens in the basement or first floor of a building since radon enters home through cracks and other openings in the foundation. “Because Montgomery County is located in a high risk area for radon, education of our residents about the dangers of radon and how easy and inexpensive it can be to test for, is crucial,” said Councilmember Craig Rice. “Radon is a serious health issue and requiring radon testing when selling/purchasing single family homes ensures that our residents become aware and can take steps to mitigate this deadly gas. If you purchased a home before the radon testing law went into effect this past October and have not had your home tested, I strongly recommend you do so now.  These tests can save lives in our county.”  

How to Test for Radon

Radon testing devices can be purchased at local home improvement stores, online or directly from radon testing companies. Many are priced under $25 and can provide short-term or long-term readings.  The readings are provided in picocuries per liter in air (pCi/L). If your test results come back as 4 pCi/L or higher, then you should consult a qualified radon mitigation contractor. “Radon is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas, so unless you perform a yearly radon test, you will not know if your home is at risk,” said Lisa Feldt, director of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). “During January, our hope is that each person will test their home and then tell two neighbors to do the same, so all our communities can stay safe and healthy.” In awareness of Radon Action Month, DEP has developed a new radon brochure with information on testing and the 2016 radon home sale testing law. The brochure is available online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/radon and will be distributed at libraries and regional service centers. For more information on radon, testing and finding a radon mitigation contractor, visit the new DEP radon website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/radon.