PORTLAND (WGME) — New data shows elevated radon levels in Maine homes — especially in the southwest part of the state.
Left untreated, it can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer.
For the first time ever, the Maine Tracking Network is releasing radon in air test results publicly. It shows parts of the state where more than 50 percent of tested households have elevated levels.
It is measured in picocuries per liter. The Environmental Protection Agency says the national average is about 1.3.
It can be ingested or inhaled. Since it is radioactive, it can cause health problems.
The EPA said it is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers.
“People that do smoke and have radon exposure, we see significant risks in them, or in people that are exposed to secondhand smoke,” said Dr. David Salko of Central Maine Healthcare.
“That is cumulative. It all adds up so it creates more damage to your body over a longer period of time,” Salko said.
Anyone worried about elevated radon levels can visit their local hardware store. A sample kit runs from about $30 to $50 to complete and will help determine if a mitigation expert is needed.