COLUMBIA, S.C. - January is National Radon Action Month, and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today that it encourages all South Carolinians to test their homes for radon so they can find it, fix it, and potentially save a life.To request a kit or for more information on radon, radon testing and mitigation, and radon-resistant new construction, visit www.scdhec.gov/radon.
A free radon test kit can be ordered from DHEC's website at www.scdhec.gov/radon or by calling 1-800-768-0362.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon is responsible for more than 21,000 lung cancer-related deaths each year - an increase from the 20,000 deaths it estimated in previous years. This estimate makes radon the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air we breathe. It can get into buildings through foundation cracks, construction joints, or plumbing and may reach harmful levels if it gets trapped inside homes.
"About one in every 15 homes in the United States has elevated levels of radon, but because you can't see or smell it, people tend to overlook the possibility that there might be a silent killer in their homes," said DHEC Radon Coordinator Richelle Tolton. "Testing is the only way to determine if your home has unsafe levels of radon, and DHEC is making it easy for all South Carolinians to get a free radon test kit for their homes."
If a home is found to have high levels of radon, the level can be greatly reduced for about the same cost as other common home repairs.
"DHEC provides resources and information to help residents know if they need to do a follow-up test or contact a radon mitigation professional to fix their home," said Tolton. "Two homes right next to each other can have different radon levels, and your home's radon level could change over time. Everyone is encouraged to test their home regularly."