The Livingston County Health Department has run out of free radon test kits but continues to encourage local residents to test their homes.
The Livingston County Health Department distributed more test kits than ever before at over 2,000 – compared to the typical 500-600. The kits were being offered during the month of January to promote Radon Action Awareness Month, which the health department does annually. Radon gas is a naturally-occurring byproduct of the radioactive decay of uranium in the soil. The gas is tasteless, odorless and colorless but also has no warning symptoms. Based on the number of homes tested, radon is present in elevated levels in about 40% of homes in Livingston County. Statewide, one in eight Michigan homes are likely to have elevated radon levels, which is above the EPA recommended action level. LCHD Deputy Health Officer and Director of Environmental Health Matt Bolang says radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer next to smoking and it’s estimated that over 20,000 people per year are diagnosed with lung cancer due to radon exposure. Bolang tells WHMI there is a lot of radon in Livingston County but the only way to know is to test for it. He says testing is very important and best done during the winter months when homes are closed up and the windows are shut, the furnace is running and air is trapped inside.
Since the Health Department gave out so many test kits, Bolang reminds people to please use them as they have a limited shelf life and do expire – not just put the kits on a shelf because they were free. It’s anticipated the department should get another shipment of kits sometime in February. In the meantime, residents can contact their local municipality to see if kits are available or purchase other kits at discounted prices through the provided link. Anyone with questions can contact the LCHD environmental health division at 517-546-9858. A map of estimated radon levels is pictured. (JM)