Connecticut Department of Public Health offers free radon testing kits

HARTFORD — According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, radon in homes is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.

It’s believed that radon gas exposure is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year. That’s why the department is offering free radon testing kits.

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that forms when uranium decays. It’s found in rocks, soil and water.

You may be thinking that those sources mean that everyone is exposed just by walking out the door, but in fact outdoor air exposure to radon is relatively low in terms of risk to our health. However, it becomes hazardous when it enters homes through surrounding soil.

The gas is invisible and has no smell, so you would not know that it was in your home without specifically testing for the “silent killer.”

Testing is particularly recommended in winter months. Your home should test lower than a 4.0 pCi per liter. If it’s at 4 or above, that needs to be fixed. However, if your home rates between a 2 and a 4 pCi/L, you should still consider taking steps to reduce the radon levels.

To get your free kit, which will only be available during the month of January and only while supplies last, click here to fill out an online form. If you don’t get a free one,  you can buy one from the American Lung Association of New England by calling 1800-LUNG-USA or visiting your local hardware store.

If your home tests above the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limits, you can contact a qualified radon contractor to fix the issue. It typically costs between $1,200 and $1,500. Click here for a list of qualified contractors.

Here are some tips on how to use the testing tools to test your home: