Free Radon Test Kits Available at Community Health Agency
Monday January 6, 2020
Testing is easy, inexpensive and the only way to know if a home has a radon problem.
January is Radon Action Month. Radon is an odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in soil and rock. You cannot see, smell or taste radon, and there are no short-term side effects. However, long-term exposure to radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Testing is easy, inexpensive and the only way to know if a home has a radon problem. The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency wants to remind residents that there are FREE testing kits available at each county office, and are encouraging residents to test their homes for this environmental hazard during this radon action month.
Radon is usually diluted and travels up into the atmosphere and causes no damage. But sometimes, it gets trapped in our homes by coming in through cracks and leaks and the contact over time can lead to lung cancer. According to the Surgeon General, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and the leading cause among non-smokers. The Department of Health and Human Services predicts that in 2019 there would be an estimated 8,070 new cases of lung cancer and 5,410 deaths from the disease in Michigan
Testing your home is the only way to find out if you have elevated radon levels. Radon is especially prominent in our tri-county area, and you could be at risk of exposure. According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), the average national indoor radon level is 1.3 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). 53% of homes in Branch County, 52% of homes in Hillsdale County, and 33% of homes in St. Joseph County test equal to or higher than 4 pCi/L. Because an acceptable level of radon is around 4pCi/L and there are no warning signs, it is vital that every home is tested. While radon poses a serious threat to community health, high radon concentrations are easily fixed. “The testing yields the most accurate results when windows and doors are shut, so that the air being tested is a better representation of what you and your family are breathing on a daily basis,” says Paul Andriacchi, Director of Environmental Health at the local health department. Testing is recommended every two years because homes settle, new cracks form in the foundation and radon levels can change. Testing is easy and inexpensive. Radon testing kits are available at the three main county offices of the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency and are free of cost.