AQES’ Role in Radon Testing and Mitigation
Testing throughout New Jersey indicates that radon is a statewide health issue. The key method of addressing this type of health issue is education, and that’s one of the roles of the Radon Section of AQES’ Division of Energy Security and Sustainability.
To that end, the Radon section conducts outreach activities designed to educate the public about radon and its associated health risk, as well as how they can get their homes tested and, if necessary, remediated. In addition, the Radon section maintains a toll-free information line ((800) 648-0394) to provide information on radon testing procedures and mitigation techniques.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas; a decay product of uranium which is found naturally in all soil in varying concentrations. Radon can accumulate in enclosed places, such as a house, but its presence, even in high concentrations, cannot be detected by human senses because the gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Long term or chronic exposure to radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, and the second-leading cause of lung cancer among smokers (after smoking) according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The greater the concentration and the longer a person is exposed, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer.
The Radon Potential Map presents radon testing data to show the potential for elevated radon concentrations in each New Jersey municipality with tier area assignments of risk. While this type of visual tool is helpful to determine if you live in an area where radon is more likely to be found, DEP recommends that all homes be tested for radon. Radon concentration can vary widely even within a tier location, depending upon the geology and amount of uranium in the soil. This means that homes in low or moderate radon potential areas may still have elevated radon concentrations. The DEP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency both recommend that you take action to mitigate your home if your test results indicate radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of radon or higher.
For more information about AQES’ Radon Section and its efforts to address radon in New Jersey, visit www.njradon.org.