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Radon Testing During ‘Radon Action Month’ Encouraged for Montgomery County Residents to Check for Possible Cancer-Causing Gas in Their Homes

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Montgomery County is joining a nationwide effort in January to encourage homeowners to learn the dangers of radon gas. “Radon Action Month” focuses on how to check for the presence of radon gas and what steps can be taken to make homes safer if the gas is detected.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon is responsible for thousands of lung cancer deaths each year.  It is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and the No. 1 cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.

January can be an effective time to test homes for radon because windows and doors are closed tightly. Testing is most effective when test kits are placed, in accordance with the test kit instructions, in the lowest occupied level of a building since radon enters through cracks and other openings in the foundation. Radon tests are different from carbon monoxide and home smoke detectors.

"Because you cannot see or smell radon, people may not be aware that there could be a risk in their homes,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Our County is in a region where we know radon can be present, and people who care about their health — and the health of their family members — should take this very seriously. Winter is the best time to test, so testing would be a great way to start off 2019.”

County Councilmember Craig Rice, the lead sponsor of the County law requiring a radon test when a single-family home is sold, is an advocate for radon education.

“Due to the geology beneath us, Montgomery County is prone to higher levels of radon,” said Councilmember Rice. “Radon is a silent killer and our residents need to know about potential dangers in their homes so they can make smart decisions to protect their families. Being informed about radon starts by picking up, and using, a testing device.”

Patty Bubar, the County’s interim director of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), said Montgomery County is one of the areas of Maryland in which radon gas is most likely to be present.

“Radon is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas, so unless you perform a radon test, you will not know if your home is at risk,” she said. “During January, our hope is that each person will test their home, and then tell two neighbors to do the same, so all our communities can stay safe and healthy.”

Radon testing devices can be purchased at local home improvement stores, online or directly from radon testing companies. Many are priced under $25 and can provide short-term or long-term readings.  The readings are provided in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). If test results come back as 4 pCi/L or higher, then homeowners should consult a qualified radon mitigation contractor. 

For more information on radon, testing and finding a radon mitigation contractor, go to the County DEP radon website at or the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection website at .

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Release ID: 19-010
Media Contact: Neil H. Greenberger 240-777-6532