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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2005

Contact: Fred Mumford
(609) 984-1795

DEP RELEASES NEW RADON GUIDANCE TO HELP REMEDIAL EFFORTS

(05/04) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today released new radon testing guidance that includes a statewide, three-category tier system that will be used to better protect the public from exposure to this harmful naturally occurring gas.

"The new information helps us protect public health in areas where elevated levels of radon present risk," said Campbell. "Testing for radon is simple and inexpensive, and elevated levels can readily be lowered."

Radon mitigation systems can be installed at an average cost of $1,200. DEP provides a list of certified businesses that offer testing and mitigation services. Do it yourself test kits also can be obtained from many hardware stores and local health departments.

All radon test results conducted in New Jersey are reported to DEP by certified companies performing the tests or that manufacture test kits. This data is used to classify municipalities into a three-tier system according to the potential for identifying homes with indoor radon problems. The Department determines the number of homes in which a radon test was performed and the percentage of those homes with a test result that was greater than or equal to the guidance level of four (4) picoCuries per liter (pCi/L).

The average indoor radon level in the United States is about 1.3 pCi/L. At the level of 4 pCi/L, DEP recommends a homeowner consider steps to reduce long-term exposure to radon gas.

The tier system classifies municipalities as having high (Tier 1), moderate (Tier 2) or low (Tier 3) potential for indoor radon levels. DEP will provide municipalities whose radon designation was upgraded to Tiers 1 and 2 with materials to develop an outreach program for homeowners. Activities to increase awareness about the need for testing include local proclamations, news flyers and presentations to community groups.

New construction in Tier 1 municipalities must incorporate radon resistant construction techniques as required by the Radon Hazard Subcode, which is administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. The techniques, which help prevent radon from entering buildings, are simple and inexpensive ways to reduce radon levels in homes.

The criteria for a Tier 1 municipality designation is at least 25 homes tested with 25 percent or more having radon concentrations greater than or equal to 4 pCi/L. Tier 2 towns have at least 25 homes tested with 5 to 24 percent having radon concentrations greater than or equal to 4 pCi/L. Tier 3 towns have at least 25 homes tested with less than 5 percent having radon concentrations greater than or equal to 4 pCi/L.

DEP changed tier designations for 34 municipalities this month. The following eight municipalities are now classified as Tier 1:

County Municipality
Burlington Washington Township
Cumberland Greenwich Township
Gloucester Swedesboro Borough
Woolwich Township
Morris Mine Hill Township
Riverdale Borough
Salem Pilesgrove Township
Sussex Hardyston Township

The following 21 municipalities are now classified as Tier 2:

County Municipality
Atlantic Somers Point City
Bergen Englewood Cliffs Borough
Hillsdale Borough
North Arlington Borough
River Vale Township
Burlington Edgewater Park Township
Westampton Township
Woodland Township
Camden Pine Hill Borough
Voorhees Township
Cape May Upper Township
Essex Belleville Town
Gloucester Clayton Borough
Elk Township
South Harrison Township
Westville Borough
Monmouth Matawan Borough
Ocean Little Egg Harbor Township
Passaic Totowa Borough
Salem Upper Pittsgrove Township
Union Roselle Park Borough

The following five municipalities are now classified as Tier 3:

County Municipality
Bergen Moonachie Borough
Rockleigh Borough
Camden Brooklawn Borough
Gloucester National Park Borough
Paulsboro Borough

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when uranium and radium break down in the soil and in rock formations. Radon gas moves up through the soil and finds its way into homes through cracks in the foundation and openings around pumps, pipes and drains.

For more information, homeowners can contact DEP's Radon Section at (800) 648-0394 or visit www.njradon.org.

 

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Last Updated: January 27, 2005