Public health organizations and lung cancer survivors are working together this month to relay a simple but potentially life-saving message to Minnesotans statewide: protect yourself and your family from lung cancer by testing your home for radon. It is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas produced by the decay of uranium found in our soil, a natural and expected occurrence. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the number-one cause among non-smokers, responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates. "While there could be a very low level of radon at one home, there can be a very high level at the house next door".
Kendall County's geology is rich in uranium deposits, capable of producing high levels of radon gas.
Testing is the beginning of prevention, and if test results indicate elevated radon levels, there are other steps needed to reduce the risk of lung cancer.
Through March 2, Ford County residents who complete a radon test in its entirety can have their names entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free Fitbit. Low-priced short-term test kits are available at the Kendall County Health Department; they can also be purchased from local home and hardware stores.
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As part of National Radon Action Month, the health division is offering radon test kits for only $5. Radon test kits are available for purchase at the Lincoln County Health Department or by calling 715-536-0307. The EPA and the US surgeon general urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools and other buildings for radon.
The risk to smokers increases significantly when living in a high-radon environment, such as our area. Perform a radon test after installing a new heating system or central air conditioning.
To get a free test kit, homeowners can log onto www.uchd.net/radon. Logan County has an average radon level of 4.4 pCi/L. "We encourage everyone to test their homes because levels can vary drastically from home to home". The envelope is sent to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality laboratory, where turnaround for the results is approximately two weeks.