Center Valley/Coopersburg Area Radon Response
DEP is working with several residents to conduct follow-up testing, as well as taking soil and rock samples in the Center Valley/Coopersburg area of Lehigh County where the department identified a home with the highest home radon level ever measured in Pennsylvania.
DEP encourages all area residents to have their homes tested for radon. This is especially important now that homes are winterized, limiting the amount of fresh air that will be entering those structures.
The concentration measured was 3,715 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). Additionally, several other homes in the area have had measured concentrations over 1,000 pCi/L. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that that any dwelling or structure with a radon concentration of more than 4 pCi/L be remediated to lower the radon concentration. In this circumstance, DEP recommended the occupants vacate the home until the measured radon concentration is verified and remediated to a level less than 4 pCi/L.
DEP held an informational meeting on Dec. 4 at the Upper Saucon Township Municipal Building to provide an opportunity for residents to speak with radon professionals from DEP and EPA to learn more about this risk and how to mitigate it. Below are links to the documents that were provided to attendees.
Elevated radon levels in homes in this area were initially observed in September. In response, DEP sent letters to more than 500 Center Valley area residents and included a coupon for a free test kit to encourage the residents to test their homes. The residents of the home with this highest measured radon concentration responded to that letter by testing their home. In addition, DEP is working with several other residents to conduct follow-up testing, as well as taking soil and rock samples in the area that will undergo additional testing.
Pennsylvania law prohibits DEP from publicly disclosing the address of private residential test results.
DEP has also contacted the local school district to ensure that radon testing has or will occur in area schools.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally through the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. It can enter a home through cracks in the foundation or other openings. According to EPA, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Pennsylvania and causes about 20,000 lung-cancer deaths in the U.S. every year.
Testing for radon is the only way to know if a home, school, workplace or other structure has elevated concentrations of radon. Most test kits can be purchased at hardware or home improvement stores at an average cost of $15 to $25 per test. The cost of a mitigation system typically ranges around $1000.