— The Byram Township Health Department announced last week that it will cooperate with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Radon Section in a special radon awareness program to promote testing for radon in homes.

As part of this program, a limited supply of free radon test kits will be available to Byram Township homeowners, based on a first come, first- served basis. Coupons for the free radon kits will be available at the Board of Health booth on Byram Day, at the Neil Gylling Park on Mansfield Drive, Saturday, September 9, 2017 (rain date of September 10, 2017) between the hours of 11am-5pm. Residents are also encouraged to contact the Township Health Department office at 973-347-2500 x125 to check availability or to request educational materials. Original coupons may be redeemed after September 10, 2017 at the Municipal Building in the Health Department, Monday - Friday between the hours of 8:30am-4:30pm, and no later than November 30, 2017.

The Byram Health Department is pleased to collaborate with the NJDEP in this program to ensure that all residents are aware of the need to test homes and reduce radon levels where necessary. Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. Radon testing is easy, and problems can be mitigated.

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when uranium breaks down in the soil and in rock formations. Small amounts of uranium are found in nearly all soils and rocks. Radon gas moves up through the soil and finds its way into homes through cracks in the foundation and openings around sump pumps, pipes and drains. Although radon will rapidly disperse outdoors, it can become trapped inside a home.

High radon levels are associated with a greater risk of lung cancer. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer resulting in approximately 21,000 deaths in the United States per year. It is recommended that homes be mitigated if they have radon concentrations of 4 pCi/L or more.

There is no truly “safe” level of radon since lung cancer can result from very low exposures to radon; however, the risk decreases as the radon concentration decreases. If your test result is less than 4.0 pCi/L, you may want to discuss with mitigation companies whether the radon level can be brought down still further. In about half of the homes that have been mitigated in New Jersey, radon levels have been brought to less that 1 pCi/L.

Homeowners who tested in the past and found low levels of radon may wish to retest to determine if radon concentrations may have changed, due to changes in air flow within the house from new additions or other renovations, or due to new construction nearby that may have caused changes in the local geology.

In addition to the test kits being provided by the Townships Health Department, the DEP’s Radon Section can provide a list of state-certified companies that provide testing services or do-it-yourself test kits, as well as companies that provide radon remediation services.

For more information on radon, contact the the NJDEP Radon Section at (800) 648-0294. The following websites provide additional resources: www.njradon.org and ; www.epa.gov/radon/.