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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 16, 2010

Residents encouraged to test homes for radon

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to educate residents about the dangers of radon exposure.

"Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that is dispersed in outdoor air, that can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings," said Sandra Flemming, director for DHEC's Division of Analytical and Radiological Environmental Services. "Elevated levels of radon have been found in homes in almost every county of South Carolina. No area of the state is free from risk."

Flemming said because two homes right next to each other can have different radon levels, the only way to know if a house has high radon levels is to test.

"Scientists have long been concerned about the health risk of radon, but never before has there been such overwhelming proof that exposure to elevated levels of radon causes lung cancer in humans," she said. "The EPA estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

"Because you can't see or smell radon, people tend to downplay the health effects and ignore the possibility that there might be a silent killer in their homes," she said. "Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and inexpensive."

According to Flemming, free radon test kits are available from DHEC. Kits can also be purchased at local hardware and home improvement stores, or directly from radon testing companies. Many are priced at less than $25.

For more information about obtaining a free radon test kit from DHEC, call 1-800-768-0362 or (864) 241-1095.

For more information about radon, see DHEC's website at: http://www.scdhec.gov/radon.

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For more information:
Aimee Morrow – (864) 241-1095
E-mail – morrowa2@dhec.sc.gov
or
Adam Myrick – (803) 898-3884
E-mail – myrickar@dhec.sc.gov
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