Radon Awareness Success in Region 3

January, as National Radon Action Month, is a time to ramp up on radon awareness and celebrate the successes of the state indoor radon programs throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Our mid-Atlantic partners have reached out to more than 2 million residents with information on what they can do to protect themselves from the dangers of radon.

Radon is a naturally occurring colorless, odorless radioactive gas, and is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, but testing for radon and reducing elevated levels when they are found can make your home healthier and safer.

Recognizing this, EPA and its state partners are highlighting radon testing and mitigation as a simple and affordable step to significantly reduce the risk for lung cancer.

For 2014, EPA awarded a total of $923,160 in State Indoor Radon Grants to the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, Virginia Department of Health, and the District of Columbia Department of the Environment.  These grants will fund the states’ radon programs to address radon risk assessment, risk reduction and radon resistant new construction in homes and schools.

Nationwide, about one in 15 homes have elevated radon levels, and I am proud to announce that in 2013, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. reported 50,666 homes were tested for radon and 28,918 homes were mitigated for radon.

Looking ahead, our next steps are to continue the success of the state indoor radon grants and network with Maryland Department of the Environment to re-implement its grant program.

Throughout the mid-Atlantic region, we are making remarkable strides in radon awareness to significantly reduce the risk for lung cancer.

This year, the Virginia Department of Health will host the mid-Atlantic region’s annual Radon Stakeholder Meeting where the main goal is to provide insight into the future, share, educate, network and to ultimately reduce the public’s exposure to radon.

More information on how to test, find a qualified radon professional, obtain a test kit or contact your state radon office is available at http://www.epa.gov/radon  or by calling 1-800-SOS-RADON.

Shawn Garvin is EPA’s Regional Administrator for Region 3, overseeing the Agency’s operations in Delaware, D.C, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Shawn’s career in intergovernmental affairs spans more than 20 years at the federal and local levels.