Maine CDC Press Release

January 28, 2019

Maine CDC Urges Mainers to Test Homes for Radon

AUGUSTA - As the nation recognizes January as National Radon Action Month, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention encourages Mainers to test their homes for radon. Breathing air that contains radon gas can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in smokers. Smokers and former smokers exposed to radon gas have an even greater risk of developing lung cancer.

Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that can reach harmful levels when trapped in a home. High levels of radon gas occur naturally in Maine soil and water, and can move up into a home from the ground. Radon gas can also dissolve into well water, which is then released into the air when water is used. The radon is then trapped in the air inside the home.

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is responsible for nearly 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year, and that 12 of Maine's 16 counties are considered high air radon areas," said Maine CDC Director, Dr. Bruce Bates. "I urge Mainers to test their home's air and water for radon, and to re-test every three to five years to make sure radon levels remain low."

Winter is the best time to test for radon because that is the season when conditions generally cause more radon to enter the home and when people are most likely to be indoors. If there is a problem, most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs. Landlords in Maine are required to test all of their residential rental properties for radon and share the results with their tenants.

There is no known safe level of radon and testing is the only way to know for sure if a home has a radon problem. Radon levels in a home can change so it is also important to re-test your home every three to five years. For more information on radon and radon testing and mitigation visit the Maine CDC Radon Homepage or call 1-800-232-0842.