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DHSS Press Release



Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@state.de.us

Date: January 28, 2014
DHSS-1-2014





TEST YOUR HOME FOR DANGEROUS RADON LEVELS

STUDIES LINK RADON TO LUNG CANCER


DOVER (Jan. 28, 2014) - As January draws to a close and National Radon Action Month ends, Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) asks: did you test your home for radon? According to both the EPA and the American Lung Association, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers in the nation. Lung cancer in non-smokers is the sixth-leading cause of all cancer deaths combined; responsible for nearly 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year. DPH's radon program encourages Delawareans to test their homes for radon every two years. The test is generally easiest and most effective in cooler weather months, when houses tend to be closed up for warmth.

If elevated levels of radon are found, it can be eliminated by installing a mitigation system that removes the gas from around your home's foundation, preventing radon gas from entering your home. Homeowners can call DPH for a list of trained and certified contractors, or download the list by visiting: www.RadonSafeDelaware.org.

A highlight of National Radon Action Month in Delaware is the publication of Delaware in-home radon testing data by the DPH's radon program. The publication identifies geographic areas where in-home radon is more likely to be elevated. Its purpose is to alert all Delawareans, but particularly those in potentially elevated level areas, to test for radon. The data published is based on the review of recent and historic in-home radon testing data, along with federal agency publication guidance. Using radon test data, DPH produced a map to aid in showing geographic areas of increased radon risk. The radon interpretive map is available at www.RadonSafeDelaware.org.

Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless and radioactive gas that occurs naturally in rocks and soils throughout the world. This gas may be found in homes and buildings; even new construction can contain radon. Since newer homes are often more airtight than older ones, they can allow higher concentrations of radon to accumulate.

According to information published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the two general areas in Delaware that exhibit the highest potential for elevated radon in homes are in New Castle County, and appear to be associated with granitic rocks in northern New Castle County and certain unconsolidated sediments in southern New Castle County.

Radon test data from inside homes, specifically in basements, and to lesser extent first floors, has been collected nationally since 1985. The data is organized by zip code and includes approximately 35,700 tests performed from 1993 through 2011; of which over 32,000 results came from tests conducted in New Castle County.

"DPH has always recommended all home owners test their residences for radon every couple of years and winter is the best season," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "Radon can cause significant health problems; even fatal illness. Even homes located in areas of low radon potential do have measurable radon levels and should be checked."

The EPA indicates that homes at or above radon action level of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/l) are considered to be elevated, and steps should be taken to reduce the concentration. By county, the areas showing the greatest percentages of homes exceeding the EPA action level are:

"Updated radon incidence data has been available for the public for many years, and making it available in an electronic format is a way to improve the information DPH provides to homeowners and contractors," said Kurt Olinger, DPH radon program manager.

DPH has radon test kits available free of charge while supplies last. The test kits may also be purchased at most hardware stores. To request a free radon test kit, contact the DPH radon office at (302) 744-4546 or call 1-800-464-HELP (4357). Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eating at least five servings of fruit or vegetables a day, watching no more than two hours of recreational screen time daily, getting one hour of physical activity each day, and drinking almost no sugar-sweetened drinks

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eating at least five servings of fruit or vegetables a day, watching no more than two hours of recreational screen time daily, getting one hour of physical activity each day, and drinking almost no sugar-sweetened drinks



Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.





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