EPA announces $47K Indoor Radon Grant to Maryland As part of National Radon Action Month
Westminster, MD (Jan. 6, 2017) – The U.S Environmental Protection Agency today announced a $46,949 grant to the Maryland Department of Environment that will be used to support the state’s new indoor radon education program.
This annual funding will be passed through to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which will work with local health departments to promote increased radon education, testing and mitigation for homes, schools and other buildings.
“With nearly one in 15 homes affected by elevated levels of radon and thousands dying each year from radon-induced cancer, it’s time for everyone to test their homes,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “By testing as many homes as possible this January, we will help make our communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play.”
The grant announcement was made as a part of National Radon Action Month. Throughout January, EPA makes a concentrated effort to encourage everyone to test their homes for radon. Winter is an especially good time to conduct a home test because people spend more time indoors and radon can build to unhealthy levels during colder weather when windows and doors are kept closed.
Radon occurs naturally from the decay of uranium in the soil and can accumulate to dangerous levels inside the home. Elevated levels of the colorless, odorless gas are the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Radon can occur anywhere, but there are some communities where elevated radon concentrations are more common. This includes portions of Carroll County, where today’s announcement was made.
According to a recent EPA mapping project with data from 2005-2016, about 28 percent of homes in Maryland are over the recommended radon action limit of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). An additional 18.8 percent are at risk with levels between 2-4 pCi/L.
Radon test kits cost about $20 and are available in home improvement centers, hardware stores and online. Kits are simple to use and include instructions on how to mail them to a lab for results.
Although testing is easy and inexpensive, only one in five homeowners nationwide have actually tested their homes. Yet, each year more than 21,000 people die from lung cancer caused by radon exposure, with the mid-Atlantic region making up about 14 percent of those radon-related deaths.
For more information about radon and radon testing see: http://www.epa.gov/radon/ .