National Radon Awareness Week is Oct. 17-24

October 5, 2011

Washington – National Radon Awareness Week is Oct. 17-24, and government officials are urging Americans to test their homes, workplaces and schools for radon levels.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally and is harmless at low levels. But it can become hazardous when the gas seeps into homes and concentration levels rise. According to Environmental Protection Agency officials, radon is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water, and can enter buildings through openings or cracks in the foundation. The primary hazard is caused from inhalation of the gas and its highly radioactive heavy metallic decay products, which tend to collect on dust in the air.

Since 1998, radon has caused between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the United States, according to EPA.