January is Radon Action Month and the Montclair Health Department is taking action by offering free radon test kits to residents on a first-come, first-served basis.

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when uranium and radium break down in the soil and in rock formations. Radon gas moves up through the soil and finds its way into homes through cracks in the foundation and openings around pumps, pipes and drains.

"Radon is a serious health risk," said Township Health Officer Susan Portuese. "It is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. But because radon is invisible and odorless it is easy to ignore this potential hazard in our own homes."

The free radon test kits contain a radon canister and a self-addressed and stamped envelope to return the canister to the lab. If the test indicates a radon problem, radon mitigation systems can be installed at a cost similar to that of other home repairs. A list of certified mitigation companies can be found at njradon.org.

For more information, contact the Montclair Health Department at 973-509-4969.

The radon test kit program is offered in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Protection Radon Program.