Health and Family Services Cabinet
January Is Radon Action Month
The Department for Public Health’s Radon Program, in cooperation with participating local health departments, Western Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are participating in the observance of Radon Action Month in the state. Governor Ernie Fletcher has signed a proclamation naming January as Radon Action Month in Kentucky.
These groups are committed to heightening awareness of the hazards associated with indoor radon. The month-long observance focuses attention on the importance of testing homes and schools for this deadly gas. This year’s focus is to raise awareness about radon-resistant construction methods that can be built into new homes, testing existing homes and mitigating homes with elevated levels of radon gas.
The Kentucky State Radon Coalition also encourages the public to participate in the 2007 Kentucky Radon Calendar Contest. The winning posters will be unveiled at an awards ceremony in September and distributed statewide. The calendar contest winner will receive a new computer and will be entered in the national calendar contest. Details for the contest can be provided by calling (502) 564-4856.
Radon is an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in our rocks and soils. It enters our homes through cracks and other openings in their foundations. Any home can have elevated levels of radon. The only way to know about your home is to test. All residents whose homes test above the EPA action level of 4.0 pCi/l, are recommended to have their homes “mitigated.” Mitigation involves the installation of a pipe system that will reduce radon concentration in the indoor air of a building.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, exposure to indoor radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States after smoking. About 400 Kentuckians develop lung cancer each year from exposure to indoor radon gas. The Surgeon General issued a health advisory in 1988 emphasizing the need to test for indoor radon and correct the problem when elevated levels are found.
“Fortunately, most homes with elevated levels of radon gas can be easily fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs,” said Clay Hardwick, the state’s radon coordinator. “If you are having a new home built, you should discuss with the builder about incorporating radon-resistant construction methods recommended by the EPA.”
During January, the state, participating local health departments, WKU, UK and the EPA will be conducting educational activities for the general public.
For more information on testing your home for indoor radon gas, contact the Kentucky Radon Program at (502) 564-4856.