Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that exists in soil, rock and groundwater. It usually enters the home through the foundation as a colorless, odorless gas and will be at highest concentrations in the lowest level of the house. Radon in groundwater will gas off as well water meets the atmosphere. Many areas in Connecticut are known to have high levels of Radon and parts of Madison are in moderate to high Radon areas. Houses built in these areas may or may not have high levels of Radon. The only way to know is to test the houses.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and for those living in houses where people smoke the risk is multiplied. Radon levels from bedrock or soil can be identified with fairly simple home tests and if high levels are found the problem can be fixed. The Madison Health Department urges all residents to test their homes and take appropriate remedial action if appropriate.

There are two basic types of devices to test Radon in the air, passive and active. Passive devices are the most common and come in two types, short term (several days) and long term (several months) and are often available through local hardware stores. All radon testing should be performed in the lowest, occupied levels of the home, during the fall or winter months. The simplest test kits are left in place for a few days, and are good to use as a screening tool. If the results of the short-term test are borderline or high, a long-term device, generally considered to me more accurate, might be indicated. Alternatively homeowners can hire licensed professionals to conduct Radon testing. A list of authorized testing companies is maintained on the Department of Public Health (DPH) listed below.

Section 10-220 of the Connecticut General Statutes requires that the radon in-in-air concentration be determined in school buildings as part of a comprehensive indoor air quality program. A representative sample of all occupied rooms on the ground floor of each school building must be sampled for radon-in-air every 5 years, and this testing must be more frequent if the radon concentration in a room was found at the last test to exceed 4 picocuries per liter of air.

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