COLUMBIA, S.C. - With nearly one in 15 homes in the U.S. having elevated levels of the cancer-causing gas radon, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control urges South Carolinians to test their homes during Radon Action Month.
"You can't see or smell radon but people need to be aware that there might be a silent killer in their homes," said DHEC Radon Coordinator Aimee Morrow. "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named January as Radon Action Month."
Morrow said radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that is dispersed in outdoor air, but which can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings.
The EPA estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
"Elevated levels of radon have been found in homes in South Carolina, with the highest potential being found in Greenville and the surrounding counties," said Morrow. "Two homes right next to each other can have different radon levels. The only way to know if your home has high radon levels is to test."
A free radon test kit can be ordered from the DHEC website or by calling 800-768-0362. Radon kits can also be found at local hardware stores or ordered directly from radon testing companies.