The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has begun sending out letters to residents in one Cumberland County municipality about dangerously high levels of radon being detected in the area.
Very high levels of radon -- an odorless, invisible radioactive gas -- were detected at several Hampden Township residences. The DEP said that at least one of the homes tested had a radon level 25 times higher than those recommended by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection.
DEP spokesman Neil Shader said he could not provide information on which area of Hampden Township tested with high radon levels. Letters are being sent out to the properties that DEP recommends get tested.
The state has provided grant money to the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania to offer a limited number of free radon test kits to Hampden Township residents. The residents eligible for the free test kits must be within a certain distance of homes tested with high radon levels.
The EPA estimates that radon may cause up to 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, nationally.
"This is an issue that we believe needs to be taken very seriously, particularly in your area," the DEP letter read to one resident.
"Pennsylvania, in general, has some of the highest radon values in the country, and this particular area has radon values above the average for the Commonwealth."
Anyone with questions should call DEP's Radon Division at 1-800-237-2366 or 717-783-3594.
Click here for information from DEP's Radon Division.