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January 6, 2015

Citizens reminded to test homes for radon

COLUMBIA - The Department of Health and Environmental Control reminds South Carolinians to test their homes for radon during National Radon Action Month, the agency announced today.

"Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that is dispersed in outdoor air but can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings," said DHEC Radon Coordinator Richelle Tolton. "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that nearly one in every 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated levels of radon. 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."

The EPA has named January as National Radon Action Month and estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer-related deaths each year. This estimate makes radon the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

"Elevated levels of radon have been found in homes in almost every county in South Carolina. The Upstate, near Greenville and the surrounding counties, is the area that has been identified as having the highest potential for radon," said Tolton. "Geography, however, is not the only factor. Two homes right next to each other can have different radon levels. Testing is the only way to determine if your home is trapping the gas."

A free radon test kit can be ordered from the DHEC website or by calling 1-800-768-0362. Radon kits can also be found at local hardware stores or ordered directly from radon testing companies. If your home is found to have high levels of radon, the level can be greatly reduced by relatively low-cost home repairs.

To request a kit or for more information on radon, radon testing and mitigation, and radon-resistant new construction, visit or the EPA's National Radon Action Month website at


For media inquiries:
Jim Beasley
Public Information Director