Radon. You may not know it is around you, but it can hurt you and your family. The state Environmental Protection Department has dubbed January, “Radon action month.

State D-E-P spokesman Larry Hajna explains the insidious nature of the Radon threat. He says Radon is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It is a gas that results from the breakdown of elements in the soil. Radon enters buildings through openings that are in contact with the ground, such as cracks in the foundation, sump pits, and small openings around pipes

But Radon can cause severe health problems, including cancer and even death. Radon decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe, which could damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer due to prolonged radon exposure.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates radon causes 21,000 deaths annually. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. For these reasons, the DEP is encouraging homeowners to test their homes for radon and take appropriate action to deal with high radon levels.

During this, “Radon action month” the Department of Environmental Protection urges homeowners in New Jersey to have their homes tested for Radon. If the test shows you have an elevated Radon level, mitigation in many cases involves the installation of a large fan to draw off the Radon gas. More info is available at njradon.org.