Passaic County Initiates Radon Awareness Program
The Passaic County Department of Health announced on March 13 that it will once again participate in the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Radon Bureau's special radon awareness program to promote testing for radon in homes.
In its "Radon Awareness Program" (RAP), the DEP Radon Bureau provides outreach assistance to promote radon testing in homes. For communities participating in RAP, the DEP provides the county health department with radon informational materials regarding how residents can reduce the risk to radon exposure. The Passaic County Department of Health and the Passaic County Cancer Coalition want to ensure that residents are aware of the need to test their homes and reduce radon levels where necessary. The state provided funds to the Passaic County Department of Health for a limited amount of free radon test kits.
"We have been targeting homeowners in Ringwood Borough, West Milford Township, Wanaque Borough, Pompton Lakes Borough and Bloomingdale Borough in Passaic County," said Irene Jessie Hunte, Passaic County health officer. "These towns located in the New Jersey Highlands have the potential for the highest levels of radon in the county. However, any Passaic County homeowner can reserve a kit."
Test kits will be available on a first come, first served basis. To reserve a kit, call 973-881-4396. Arrangements to pick up reserved radon test kits at the Passaic County Department of Health, Ringwood Health Department, Wanaque Health Department, and the West Milford Health Department will be made.
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when uranium breaks down in the soil and rock formations. Small amounts of uranium are found in nearly all soils and rocks. Radon gas moves up through the soil and finds its way into homes through cracks in the foundation and openings around sump pumps, pipes and drains. Testing is the only way to know if a family is at risk from radon.
High radon levels are associated with a greater risk of lung cancer. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer resulting in approximately 21,000 deaths in the United States per year.