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DEP Reminds Pennsylvanians that January is Radon Action Month

Free Webinar on Jan. 16 to Offer Q&A with Experts, Home Testing Tips

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of National Radon Action Month, the Department of Environmental Protection will present an episode on the subject as part of its quarterly webinar series, DEP at Home, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, from 7 to 8 p.m.

"Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and affects almost half of all Pennsylvania homes," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "Everyone needs to test their homes for radon.

"The good news is that a radon problem is easily and inexpensively fixed. The webinar will teach people more about this health risk and how they can protect their families."

The webinar will feature a presentation and live question-and-answer session with Robert Lewis and Matthew Shields of DEP's Bureau of Radiation Protection and Kevin Stewart of the American Lung Association.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally through the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. It can seep into homes through cracks in basements and foundations, and can build up inside to concentrations many times the recommended level.

Radon is responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung-cancer deaths in the United States every year, and about 40 percent of Pennsylvania homes have radon levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's action level of four picocuries per liter. While radon problems may be more common in some regions, the potential exists for any home to have high radon levels.

Pennsylvania is particularly prone to elevated radon levels, and the only way to know if there is a radon problem is to test the home. DEP recommends testing all homes and public and private buildings. The best time to test is during the cold-weather months, when homes and buildings are closed and radon is most likely to build up to unhealthy levels.

Residents may hire a certified radon testing company, though it is easy to perform a radon test by using a kit that can be purchased at a home improvement store or a Pennsylvania-certified radon laboratory. Completed test kits are to be sent to a Pennsylvania-certified lab, where the samples are analyzed and the results are then sent to the resident. If results reveal radon levels above the action level, a radon mitigation system may be necessary. 

Radon mitigation systems cost between $700 and $1,200 and require minimal maintenance. Most home or building owners choose to hire a radon mitigation professional to install the system.

For more information about radon, including information about interpreting test results or to find a Pennsylvania-certified radon contractor, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: Radon, or call 1-800-23-RADON.

To participate in the webinar, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click the "DEP at Home" button on the homepage. Space is limited and participation is based on a first-come, first-served basis.

Media contact: Amanda Witman, 717-787-1323

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

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