January is National Radon Action Month, and local health officials are encouraging residents to get their homes tested for the potentially dangerous gas.
Because families are spending more time indoors during the winter months, January is a good time to test for the invisible, odorless gas. Radon comes from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It can enter buildings through openings in the foundation floors and walls like sump pump openings, crawlspaces, and cracks. Radon can become trapped in buildings and lead to elevated and harmful levels.
Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States with an estimated 21,100 lung cancer deaths each year that are radon-related. One in eight Michigan homes are likely to contain elevated levels. According to a study conducted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, elevated levels of radon are present in about 40% of Livingston County homes. Environmental Sanitarian Heather Blair says the Livingston County Health Department is encouraging community members to take advantage of free radon test kits this month to ensure the safety of their home and its occupants.
The Health Department is offering free short-term radon test kits now through January 31st. The kits are available to be picked up at the Environmental Health Division Office, located at 2300 East Grand River Avenue in Howell, and limited quantities at all city, village, and township offices. Radon test kits are also available for purchase at local hardware stores, home improvement centers, some supermarkets, or directly from a laboratory.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that homes with radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter or more install a mitigation system to prevent accumulation of the gas indoors. Blair says most radon mitigation systems fall in the price range of $800 to $1,500, and can usually be installed within a day or less.
More information about Radon Action Month and free test kits can be found through the link and attachment below. (DK)