State health officials urge residents to test their home for radon and take other steps to ensure they have a healthy home.
A host of environmental hazards exist in the home that can negatively impact health. Indoor air pollutants such as radon, tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide, contaminated private well water, lead-based paint in older homes, and asbestos-containing materials in homes put the health of everyone inside at risk. These household dangers can make people very sick, and lead to increased health care costs, poor school performance, and missed days at work and school.
“A growing body of evidence links poor housing conditions to asthma, lead poisoning, lung cancer and unintentional injuries,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “Any home may have health hazards, but fortunately, there are many effective and relatively simple steps to help identify and correct them. Testing your home for radon is one way to identify an environmental hazard in your home that could have an impact on your health.”
Radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It is estimated that about 20% of Connecticut homes have elevated levels of radon gas. Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and responsible for more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.
DPH recommends that all Connecticut homes be tested for radon, a colorless and odorless gas. If levels are elevated, steps can be taken to reduce high levels by qualified radon contractors, with costs typically ranging between $1,200 and $1,500. To obtain a kit, call 800-Lung USA.
Several local health departments have educational materials and test kits available and are an excellent source for information and testing devices.
Last year, DPH formed the Healthy Homes Initiative to promote safe and healthy home environments by addressing physical, chemical and toxic hazards in the home. Several of the department’s programs integrate a healthy homes approach in their work through a combination of education and outreach, workforce development and home-based interventions that address the underlying causes of multiple home hazards.
As part of this initiative, DPH compiled data on housing conditions and housing-related health issues to produce the Connecticut Healthy Homes Data Book. The data book compares Connecticut housing data with national statistics, and addresses a number of environmental hazards in the home and how they impact our health. To view the data book and learn more, visit ct.gov/dph/healthyhomes or call 860-509-7367.
To contact the Connecticut Department of Public Health, visit ct.gov/dph or 860-509-7270.