Skip to main content

Press Releases

Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection Joins Nationwide Effort to Make Homeowners and Renters Aware of Dangers of Radon Gas

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is joining a nationwide effort in January to educate homeowners and renters on the dangers of radon gas and the importance of testing every home. Radon Action Month focuses on the steps that can be taken to help ensure that homes are radon free.

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas found in soil and rock. It seeps into homes through cracks in the foundation, walls and joints. Radon cannot be seen and has no odor, but it could be present at a dangerous level in homes. Areas of Maryland, and Montgomery County, are situated in ways that could lead to homes having radon present.

County Executive Marc Elrich, County Councilmember Craig Rice and DEP Director Adam Ortiz were among those presenting a proclamation before the County Council today, Jan. 14, recognizing January as Radon Action Month.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year.

January is an especially good time to test homes for radon because windows and doors are closed tightly and people spend more time indoors. Testing typically should be done in the lowest occupied level of a building. Radon tests are different from carbon monoxide and home smoke detectors.

Councilmember 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.”

Exposure to radon is a preventable and testing radon levels in a home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected, steps can be taken to fix the problem.

“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,” said DEP Director Ortiz. “During January, our hope is that each person will test their home and then tell neighbors to do the same.”

Radon test kits are available at many local stores, particularly hardware stores. The National Radon Program Services at Kansas State University offers discounted test kits available to purchase online. More information on that program is available at

The EPA has produced a brochure with guidelines on how to alleviate radon if it is found to be present in a home. The “Consumers Guide to Radon Reduction” can be found at

More information on radon and how it could impact Montgomery County homes is available at the DEP website at

                                                                                                            # # #

Release ID: 20-014
Media Contact: Neil H. Greenberger 240-777-6532