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Maine CDC adds new radon data tool

Homeowners urged to test for exposure with do-it-yourself kits
Jan 10, 2020

Augusta — A new tool is available to Maine residents to help them learn about radon exposure in their communities.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention now provides an online data tool that summarizes radon test results at the town, county and state levels, as well as eight years of household survey data about testing, levels above normal, and whether those levels were fixed.

Household survey data suggest that only one in three Maine households have tested their homes for radon, a colorless, odorless gas. This is concerning because radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second most common cause of lung cancer overall.

Maine CDC encourages everyone to test their home for radon. Do-it-yourself test kits from local laboratories and hardware stores typically cost between $30 and $40. They are a simple way to find out if your home is exposing you to radon.

“These data show that while radon can be found everywhere in the state, there are communities in southwestern Maine and within Hancock and Aroostook counties where more than 50% of households have elevated levels of radon,” said CDC Director Nirav D. Shah. “Locating these geographic hotspots will help target resources and information to the communities most affected.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends mitigation for test results at or above 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). EPA also suggests homeowners consider mitigation if levels are between 2 and 4 pCi/L. If mitigation is needed, Maine CDC recommends contacting a certified mitigation specialist to ensure a radon reduction system is properly designed and installed.

High radon levels are a clear threat to your health. But the solutions — testing and mitigation — are clear, too. If you test your home and find out you have a problem, you can fix it.

“If you find that you have high levels of radon, it can be alarming,” Shah said. “But addressing the issue is often easier than homeowners expect. The key is to work with an expert who can help you.”

To view the Maine Tracking Network’s radon data portal, visit data.mainepublichealth.gov/tracking.

For more information:

Maine CDC Radiation Control Program: maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/rad/radon/hp-radon.htm

Maine Indoor Air Quality Council: maineindoorair.org/

Maine Lung Cancer Coalition: mainelungcancercoalition.org/

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: epa.gov/radon

 

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