During the month of January, Montgomery County joins 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 radon free.
According to the EPA, radon is responsible for thousands of 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 lowest occupied level of a building since radon enters through cracks and other openings in the foundation. Radon tests are different from carbon monoxide and home smoke detectors.
“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.”
Councilmember Craig Rice, the lead sponsor of the County law requiring a radon test when a single-family home is sold, is an advocate for radon education.
“Due to the geology beneath us, Montgomery County is prone to higher levels of radon,” said Rice. “Radon is a silent killer and our residents need to know about potential dangers in their homes so they can make smart decisions to protect their families. Being informed about radon starts by picking up, and using, a testing device.”
The most important step to protecting your home is to test for radon. “Radon is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas, so unless you perform a radon test, you will not know if your home is at risk,” said Patrice Bubar, Acting 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.”
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 (pCi/L). If your test results come back as 4 pCi/L or higher, then you should consult a qualified radon mitigation contractor.
For more information on radon, testing and finding a radon mitigation contractor, visit the DEP radon website at montgomerycountymd.gov/radon.