Homeowners urged to test for radon

Radon test kits are available for $5 throughout January which is National Radon Action Month at Oakland County Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield

State offers free radon test kits

Decades of scientific research have shown a strong correlation between breathing harmful concentrations of radon gas - over long periods of time - with an increased risk of developing lung cancer.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. And since radon levels can change from year to year, you should test every couple of years to make sure your system is working properly.

Radon testing is not required by law or regulated in Wisconsin. "And then you leave it there anywhere from two to eight days and then mail it back in", said Faith Lustik, public health planner.

A natural chemical that emits from rocks and soil, radon levels inside the home tend to increase significantly during the winter months when doors and windows stay shut. Winter is a good time to test your home, Teton County Public Health Department response coordinator Rachael Wheeler said.

"Radon is a naturally occurring gas and it's created by the uranium that you would find from the soil, so uranium is normally associated with mountains which is why some states like Colorado would be considered to have more radon", explained Colby Adams, who is the environmental health director for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's Division of Public Health. More information on radon mitigation can be found at www.epa.gov/radon by clicking on the "Publications and Resources link" and viewing the EPA publication Consumer's Guide to Radon.

The kits can be obtained online from the DPH's radon program website here.

Radon levels in the outdoors are usually harmless; however, radon can build up indoors to risky levels. "We encourage everyone to test their homes because levels can vary drastically from home to home". Though the kit, which is comprised of activated charcoal, is not risky to children or pets, it's best to keep it in a place where it can not be disturbed. "PHMDC also has test kits for sale at $10 per kit". Testing usually takes about four to seven days. After construction is completed and the homeowner has moved in, a radon test is recommended.

After January, radon test kits will be available to homeowners for $8.

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