Guam EPA offers free radon tests

18 January 2012

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA) is offering free radon tests as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) National Radon Action Month.

Radon is a naturally-occurring, colorless, odorless, inert radioactive gas. Prolonged exposure to high levels of radon can increase the risk for lung cancer. Surveys conducted by Guam EPA indicate about 27% of homes in Guam have higher levels of radon than the level recommended by U.S. EPA.

“Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in the United States. It is a potentially dangerous gas which is why we are encouraging all members of the community to have their homes and offices tested for radon,” said Guam EPA Administrator Ivan Quinata. “Testing your home or office for radon is easy and critical to ensuring a safe living or working environment.”

Applications for a radon test packet can be filled out from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Guam EPA’s main office in Tiyan across from the former JFK High School campus.

Radon occurs naturally as elements in the soil break down. The gas can enter the home through cracks in the foundation and build up over time. The higher the concentration of radon, and longer an individual is exposed to it, the higher the probability radon may cause lung cancer. U.S. EPA recommends homes have a concentration of radon less than 4.0 picoCuries per liter. Some tested homes on Guam had more than 300 picoCuries per liter. If a home or office has a high concentration of radon, mitigation systems that either blow radon outdoors or prevent it from entering the home can be installed.

Every year U.S. EPA designates January as Radon Action Month. The month includes activities in 37 states to encourage families and businesses to test and mitigate for radon.

Residents who complete the application form will be contacted by Guam EPA’s Air Pollution Control Program to arrange a testing time. The test includes setting a radon canister in a frequently used room for at least 48 hours. After the canister is closed and returned to Guam EPA, the amount of radon gas in the home or office can be determined.

For more information about radon, the testing process or to arrange an interview, please contact Tammy Jo Anderson Taft at 475-1646, 988-7582 or email TammyJoAnderson.Taft@epa.guam.gov.

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