For Immediate Release
KDHE Office of Communications
Governor Kathleen Sebelius proclaimed January as “Kansas Radon Action Month” at a signing ceremony at the Statehouse on January 22nd . Representatives of several health and environmental organizations, including the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), Kansas State University, and Kansas County Extension Services were on hand to witness the signing.
“Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States following smoking,” stated Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of KDHE. “We recommend that homeowners test their homes for radon. Test kits for radon are simple to use, relatively inexpensive, and could provide life-saving information. ”
Radon is a naturally occurring, colorless and odorless radioactive gas that can enter homes through cracks and other openings in foundations and floors. Simple repairs can reduce the possibility of the gas entering a home.
A typical radon test kit costs about $15-$20 and is simple to use. The kits collect radon gas, and are then sent to a lab for analysis. The results are reported to the purchaser. Radon testing kits are available through Kansas county extension offices and many local hardware or builder’s supply stores.
Radon becomes a health hazard when it becomes concentrated within a home or other structure. The higher the concentration, the greater the health risk. The cities of Topeka and Manhattan have adopted building codes that require radon-resistant techniques to be incorporated into the construction of new homes. KDHE is encouraging other cities in Kansas follow their lead and adopt the radon new construction building codes.
Elevated radon levels have been found in every county in Kansas. The Kansas Radon Program database currently contains over 32,000 indoor radon measurements, and the average radon level for Kansas is 4.7 picoCuries per liter. The U.S. EPA has recommended that all homes that test at 4.0 pCi/l or higher should be mitigated.
The National Academy of Sciences has estimated that there are 21,000 radon-induced lung cancer deaths in the United States each year. About 2,900 of these deaths occurred in people who reported they had never smoked.
If you have questions about radon, please contact the Kansas Radon Hotline at
1-800-693-KDHE (1-800-693-5343) or the National Radon Hotline at 1-800-SOS-RADON.
Note to reporters, editors and news directors: Radon Action Month public service announcements and advertisements for television, radio, newspapers and magazines can be downloaded from the KDHE website at www.kdheks.gov until the end of January. Click the link under the National Radon Action Month image to access these resources.