December 8, 2009
The Texas Department of State Health Services is offering free kits so Texans can test the radon level in their homes.
Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that can come up from the soil and into a home or building through pipes, drains, cracks in the foundation or other openings. If radon is inhaled over a long period, it can increase the risk of lung cancer, according to Kay Soper, DSHS environmental specialist.
The free test kits can be ordered by going to www.drhomeair.com and selecting the “Texas Radon Program” link or by calling 1-800-324-5928, extension 3. Each household is limited to one free kit.
The radon test kit includes a small charcoal-filled plastic case, detailed instructions and a postage-paid envelope. The plastic case is placed in the home for two days and then sent to a laboratory for free analysis. Results are usually available within two to three weeks.
If testing shows a high radon level, steps can be taken to reduce the level, according to Soper. “Texans want healthy homes for their families,” Soper said. “Testing is a very easy thing to do to make sure radon is not a problem.”
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking, and is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to radon is responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year.
According to EPA standards, most Texas homes are located in areas of “low potential” for elevated radon levels. But 39 of Texas’ 254 counties – mostly in West and Northwest Texas – have a “moderate potential” rating. A map of radon zones in Texas and additional information is at www.dshs.state.tx.us/radiation/radon.shtm.
(News Media Contact: Allison Lowery, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7111, ext. 2213.)
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