HELENA, Mont. (NMB) – January is Radon Awareness Month and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s Radon Control Program encourages people to consider that long-term exposure to indoor radon can be deadly.
A press release says that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers, and second only to smoking for the entire population. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer every year.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas. Radon seeps into homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation or walls, and can accumulate over time in homes that are not properly vented. The underlying geology of much of Montana and the Northern Rockies makes homes in our region particularly susceptible.
The U.S. Surgeon General issued a health advisory for radon in 2005 encouraging everyone to test their home for radon every two years, and to retest after moving, making structural changes, or occupying a previously unused level of a house.
When elevated radon levels are fond, they can usually be significantly reduced for an investment of less than $2,000. New homes can be built using easy and inexpensive radon-resistant construction techniques.
For more information, contact the Montana DEQ’s Radon Control program at 800-546-0483.