NASHVILLE– The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is offering free radon test kits for Tennesseans to test their homes in January. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has proclaimed the month as “Radon Action Month.”
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and it is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
“We hope Tennesseans will take advantage of the offer of free test kits,” Dr. Kendra Abkowitz, director of the Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices at TDEC, said. “We want people to be aware of the potential for radon in their homes, that testing for it is free and easy, and that there are ways they can mitigate it if they find they have a radon problem.”
Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally-occurring radioactive gas that threatens people’s health when it is trapped in confined spaces such as homes. It is produced by the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soils. The only way to know if it is in a home is to test for it.
For more information and to request a free test kit, visit https://www.tn.gov/environment/program-areas/opsp-policy-and-sustainable-practices/community-programs-and-services/radon/get-a-free-test-kit0.html or call 800-232-1139.
Radon does not generally present a health risk outdoors because it is diluted in the open air. Radon can, however, build up to dangerous levels inside a house. A house can act like a vacuum, drawing radon through foundation cracks and other openings. Radon may also be present in well water and can be released in a home when the water is used for showering and other household activity.
During January, the U.S. Surgeon General and the Environmental Protection Agency urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes for radon. The TDEC Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices manages the TN Radon program, a statewide awareness and education initiative, where the goal is to educate the public about the risk of radon exposure in indoor environments.