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January is Action Radon Month

The Somerset County Health Department, in conjunction with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, once again recognizes January as Radon Action Month by offering reduced-cost radon testing kits to all Somerset County residents and employees. Kits are available, on a first-come, first-served basis, for $5.00 and may be picked up at the Health Department office, located at 27 Warren Street, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Radon is a serious health risk. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in general. For smokers, the risk of developing lung cancer is increased dramatically if they also are exposed to excess radon. According to the Somerset County Cancer Coalition, lung and bronchus cancers are the number-one cause of cancer-related fatalities in Somerset County.

Radon does not cause any immediate symptoms, such as asthma or respiratory problems. The risk of developing lung cancer is the only known health effect.

Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas that occurs naturally in soil. It is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium and radium in rock formations, and occurs in higher concentrations in certain areas of the state, including Somerset County.

According to Health Department data, one out of every three homes in Somerset County tested during 2008 and 2009 exceeded the radon action level of 4 picocuries per liter. Fortunately, radon testing is simple and inexpensive, and elevated levels of radon can be managed and reduced at the cost of a typical home repair. Additional information about radon is available at www.njradon.org

Residents and County employees are encouraged to call 908-231-7155 beforehand to ensure availability of kits. Free parking is available.