Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of naturally occurring uranium in soil and rock. It is invisible, odorless and tasteless, and can only be detected by specialized tests. Radon enters homes through openings that are in contact with the ground, such as cracks in the foundation, small openings around pipes, and sump pits.
Radon, like other radioactive materials, undergoes radioactive decay that forms decay products. Radon and its decay products release radioactive energy that can damage lung tissue in a way that may cause the beginning of lung cancer.
The more radon you are exposed to, and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of eventually developing lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, resulting in 15,000 to 22,000 deaths per year.
Testing your home for radon is easy and homes with high levels of radon can be fixed (mitigated). The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recommends that all homes be tested for radon.
What Information Does the New Jersey EPHT Network Contain About Radon?
The NJ EPHT web portal contains information on radon screening and mitigation. Screening data illustrate the increasing percent of homes that have been tested for radon since the mid-1990s. The mitigation data show the percent of homes that tested at or above 4 picocuries radon per liter air (pCi/L) and were mitigated.
Where Can I Get More Information About Radon?
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Radon Section works to educate the public on the risks of radon and how homes can be remediated. DEP provides radon information to answer many of the questions New Jersey residents might have concerning radon:
NJ DEP has a toll-free information line, (800) 648-0394, to provide information on testing procedures and mitigation techniques. Free information packets are available upon request. NJ DEP has established regulations for the certification of radon measurement, mitigation businesses, and professionals. By law, all companies conducting radon testing and mitigations in New Jersey must be certified by the DEP.
Other NJ Resoures