Unsafe levels of cancer-causing radon are present in about one in seven homes in parts of the western San Fernando Valley, a state study released Tuesday says.
The report by the state Department of Health Services estimated that 14% of homes in Encino, Tarzana, Woodland Hills and Agoura Hills have levels of radon above federal safety standards for the gas, which the American Lung Assn. has called the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. In addition, 8% of homes in Canoga Park and Chatsworth can be expected to have dangerous levels of radon, the study said.
The West Valley estimates were significantly higher than the statewide radon rate. On average, less than 1% of California homes have radon levels higher than federal guidelines of 4 picocuries per liter of air. Living in a home with that amount of radon poses the same cancer risk as smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day, officials said.
The department urged residents of Valley areas with high average readings to test their homes for radon.