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ALAPA Partners Offering Free Radon Test Kits

The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania (ALAPA) has introduced a new program to help people protect their health from lung-cancer-causing radon gas. The lung health agency identified three regions of the Commonwealth with generally lower testing rates and generally higher likelihood of high radon levels. ALAPA today unveiled its plan to promote radon testing among residents in the first region, lying mainly in the northeastern quadrant of the state.

In the first year of an envisioned three-year program, ALAPA will conduct outreach in nine counties, including Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga and Lycoming.

In addition to their nationally recognized smoking cessation and asthma education programs, the American Lung Association announced today that they would be providing free radon test kits to the public through the following three main activities:

An on-line program at its webpage www.lunginfo.org/freeradonkit at which Pennsylvania residents can place a request for a home radon test kit, while supplies last. Only one test kit per household will be provided, with the understanding that persons requesting a test kit do not have previous test results for their homes and that testing would be performed for the residents' personal health purposes. This offer will be in effect for a limited time and test kits can be ordered only online.

School-based programs at which ALAPA staff gives presentations and students receive radon test kits for use in their homes. Commitment from parents that the test would be performed is sought, and ideally the school would use the radon program as part of its science lessons. Schools interested in signing up should contact Tony Delonti, Program Specialist at (570) 346-1784 or adelonti@lunginfo.org. Upper elementary and middle school teachers throughout the area work with ALAPA to bring such educational programs about radon to their students. For example, Mount Carmel Elementary in Northumberland County and Canton Elementary School in Bradford County have already scheduled programs in May.

Community-based outreach activities at which ALAPA staff or its cooperative partners provides radon test kits to members of the public. Businesses, Extension agents, health centers, municipal governments, shopping malls, and civic clubs have all participated with ALAPA in the past and should contact Tony Delonti, Program Specialist at (570) 346-1784 or adelonti@lunginfo.org to sign up. For example, Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre will hold an educational program on radon at Patterson Auditorium on May 31st at 6:30 pm. The session provided by the Lung Association will include an educational talk and materials as well as test kits for the public.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and it is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking. The only way to know the level of radon inside one's home is to test for it. The U.S. Surgeon General and the American Lung Association recommend that all homes be tested for radon.

The American Lung Association is conducting this program under a recent grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). "The American Lung Association is using the program as a way to help the public carry out DEP's recent call for everyone to test their homes for radon," said the group's Environmental Health Director, Kevin Stewart. For the past 25 years, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, state environmental agencies, and organizations nationwide such as the American Lung Association have encouraged the public to test homes and to get radon problems fixed.

Nearly one in fifteen homes nationwide has a high level of indoor radon, and in Pennsylvania, the rates are even greater. The good news is that homes with high radon levels can be fixed. In most cases, the solution is simple and similar in cost to other typical home repairs.

If you have a question concerning radon or would like to contact your local American Lung Association office, please call the American Lung Association toll-free at 1-800-LUNG-USA.

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