The average home may be more hazardous to your health than most people think, including harboring indoor air pollutants like tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide, contaminated private well water, lead-based paint in older homes, and asbestos-containing materials. It is also estimated that about 20% of Connecticut homes have elevated levels of radon gas, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, found to be a leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Symptoms of radon poisoning include a persistent cough that doesn't get better, coughing up blood, difficulty breathing, chest pains, wheezy breathing, hoarseness and recurring bouts of respiratory infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Testing for radon, however, is simple and inexpensive. If levels are elevated, steps can be taken to reduce high levels by qualified radon contractors, with costs typically ranging between $1200 and $1500. To obtain a kit, call 1-800-Lung USA, or contact your local health department for more information.
In addition, the Connecticut DPH has 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.
Readers interested in viewing the data book and learn more about what they can do to make their residences healthier can visit www.ct.gov/dph/healthyhomes or call the Department of Public Health at (860) 509-7367.