State offers free radon test kits

Brandon Parsons
January 13, 2018

There are areas in our community that have significantly high radon levels, and many homes have not been tested.

The do-it-yourself test kits are available at the Macomb County Health Department, 43525 Elizabeth Road in Mount Clemens, as well as at the Warren office at 27690 Van Dyke Ave. Forty-nine percent of homes in La Plata County have required mitigation of the colorless, odorless gas produced by decaying uranium in rocks and soil.

Testing radon levels in your home can help prevent exposure, and it's simple and low-cost.

The Surgeon General advises, in a press release to NBC26, that exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and that radon combined with cigarette smoke poses an increased risk of lung cancer.

It can seep through basement and foundation cracks and other openings such as sumps into living spaces where people breathe it.

While radon comes from the decay in uranium and is found in nearly all soil types, it isn't content to stay put. Radon test kits can also be purchased at local hardware stores. Minnesota has high radon levels due to its unique geology and cold climate. Options for remediation of radon in the home are available at the CDPH Indoor Radon Program. But the only way to know if radon is present is to test it.

The recommended level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. Radon is also found in building materials and in well water. If levels are elevated, the mitigation system is adjusted and the resident should test again to be sure levels are below 4.0 pCi/L. Mitigation is simply redirection of air flow. There is no charge for attendance at the presentations or for radon screening kits. Healthy Teton County's Community Health Improvement Plan created a radon action group to increase the number of homes and buildings in the county that test for radon.

You're supposed to test for radon in the lowest part of your house and sometimes that may mean in your closet.

If testing shows that there is a radon problem, the homeowner will need to install a system that will prevent the radon from accumulating in the home.

For information about presentations as well as locations, call the Extension Office at 382-6461 or San Juan Basin Public Health at 335-2030.

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