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Nov. 21, 2014
Lehigh County Community Found With Extremely High Radon Levels
DEP Urges Residents to Test for Radon and Attend an Open House
Harrisburg – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is urging residents in the Center Valley area of Lehigh County to have their homes tested for radon. This comes after recent tests by the department and a DEP-certified laboratory revealed that several homes in that area have record high levels.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally through the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. It can enter a home through cracks in the foundation or other openings. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Pennsylvania and causes about 20,000 lung-cancer deaths in the U.S. every year.
Several homes in the Center Valley area were found to have radon levels of over 1,000 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). One specific home tested at 2,750 pCi/L and is one of the highest radon values ever recorded in the state. These levels are hundreds of times more than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action level of 4 pCi/L; a level where a home should be remediated to lower the radon concentration.
“This community serves as an important reminder to all Pennsylvania residents to test their homes for radon,” Acting DEP Secretary Dana Aunkst said. “Protect yourself and your family from this invisible, cancer-causing, radioactive gas.”
Area residents are invited to an open house with DEP’s radon professionals to learn more about this threat and how to mitigate it. The open house will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 4 at the Upper Saucon Township Municipal Building, 5500 Camp Meeting Rd., Center Valley. Residents will receive lists of area companies certified by DEP to perform radon testing, mitigation and laboratory analysis.
DEP has sent letters to more than 500 Center Valley area residents in the local area with very high radon levels urging them to test their homes. Pennsylvania law prohibits DEP from publicly identifying any private residences radon testing results. The department has, however reached out to the local school district to ensure that radon testing has occurred in the schools.
Testing for radon is the only way to know if a home, school, workplace or other structure has elevated levels of radon. The best time to test is during the cold-weather months when windows and doors are closed and the radon levels are often at their peak. Most test kits can be purchased at hardware or home improvement stores at an average cost of $15 to $25 per test.
While radon problems may be more common in certain regions of the state, the potential exists for any home in Pennsylvania to have high radon levels. Radon has been detected in all 67 counties, making Pennsylvania particularly prone to elevated radon levels. About 40 percent of homes in the state having radon levels above EPA’s action level.
For this reason DEP certifies all radon testers, mitigators and laboratories doing business in the state. This ensures all radon tests performed provide quality results, and those who remediate radon problems do quality work.
For more information about radon, including information on interpreting test results and finding a Pennsylvania-certified radon contractor, visitwww.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: Radon, or call 800-23-RADON.
Media contact: Colleen Connolly, 570-826-2035
To promote community vitality, economic prosperity and cultural harmony, the Borough of Coopersburg will provide services which are responsive to the health, safety and general welfare needs of the community.
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