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January 2012 is National Radon Action Month

Reposted with permission from the Utah Department of Environment Quality.

Looking for a thoughtful gift that's small, doesn't cost much, and saves lives? Giving a radon test kit this holiday season will help jumpstart January as National Radon Action Month.

"Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, causing an estimated 22,000 deaths a year," said Christine Keyser, radon program coordinator of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Radiation Control. "The best time to test for radon is during the winter months when your home is closed and radon levels are likely to build to their highest concentrations. So this is the perfect time of year to give a test kit as a gift and urge friends or family to test their homes."

High levels of indoor radon have been found in many areas of Utah. Because radon is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally in soil and rocks through the breakdown of uranium, testing is the only way to know the radon level in a home.

Radon test kits weigh only a few ounces and cost very little. While radon test kits are available at many larger home improvement stores, homeowners may purchase a do-it-yourself, short-term test kit (includes laboratory analysis) for only $6. To order the kit at this discounted rate, go to the state's website: www.radon.utah.gov or call 1-800- 324-5928, ext. 21 or 22. If ordering by phone, just say you are a citizen of Utah and that you want the discounted $6 radon test kit. Testing for radon should be done on the lowest level of the home on which the occupants spend time, so a finished basement or a basement containing a workshop or exercise room is a good place to test. Kitchens and bathrooms are not recommended testing areas.

"Testing instructions come with the kit, and it only takes a minimum of 48 hours to obtain a sample," Keyser said. "Most people can easily do a radon test on their home."

"If test results are 4.0 pCi/L or above, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that homeowners install a radon remediation system." A list of certified radon mitigators may be accessed at www.radon.utah.gov. To learn more about radon and upcoming radon events, please go to the state's radon website or call: 801-536-0091 or 800-458-0145.

The Utah County County Health Department has radon testing kits for $10. The Habitat for Humanity Restore in Orem has them for $6. For details, please contact Adnrea Jensen at 801-851-7509.