Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 8, 2008

CONTACT
Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047, marla.augustine@dhhs.ne.gov

Note: Sound bites on this topic are available at: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/audio.aspx

 

DHHS: Test Your Home for Radon

January is Radon Action Month

Lincoln— January is Radon Action Month and an opportune time for Nebraskans to test for radon in their homes, according to the state’s top health official. During winter homes are closed up and can trap the toxic gas.

"Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for people who have never smoked," said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. "It’s important that every home be tested for it."

Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is present at high levels in half of Nebraska homes.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related, second only to tobacco-related lung cancer deaths.

Radon comes from the decay of naturally occurring uranium in the earth’s soil and can accumulate indoors to dangerous levels. It can enter homes through cracks or holes in concrete floors or walls, sump pits, and drinking water from private wells. Once trapped inside an enclosed space, radon can accumulate.

The EPA recommends that houses with radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter of air or more be fixed to reduce risk of developing lung cancer. A list of trained professionals is available at the Nebraska Radon Program website http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/radon/radonmit.htm#LicensedBusinesses

Twelve local projects across the state are underway to educate Nebraskans about the dangers of radon with the help of $24,000 in grant funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. The funding was given to local health districts and University of Nebraska county extension offices. A list of local projects is available at: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/radon/Radonprojects.htm

For more information about radon or mitigation, call the Nebraska Radon Hotline at 1-800-334-9491. Radon test kits are available for a minimal charge from DHHS for the month of January.

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