You can protect your family against lung cancer by testing radon within your home. January is National Radon Action Month. Radon continues to be the second leading cause of lung cancer, and the first leading cause among non-smokers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that as many as 21,000 lung cancer deaths are caused by radon each year.
Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas. It comes from a natural occurring breakdown within the soil. It seeps into structures by channeling up cracks within the foundation and gaps around service pipes. Both old and new constructions can be susceptible to radon.
Breathing air tainted by radon gas can cause lung cancer. The EPA estimates, 1 out of every 15 homes tested have radon levels at or above the action level of 4pCi/L. The national indoor radon level is 1.3 pCi/L. Lincoln County’s average indoor radon level is 6.7 pCi/L. “The only way to know if radon levels in your home are elevated is to test,” says Meghan Williams, Environmental Health Specialist, Lincoln County Health Department. “Since we live in a region with naturally high levels of radon, everyone should test their home.”
Testing can be inexpensive and easy. Radon test kits are available for purchase at the Lincoln County Health Department. The cost for a short term radon kit is $8.00 and is kept in your home from 2-4 days. Short term tests provide quick results. Long term kits are $18.75 and are kept in your home for more than 3 days and can be deployed up to 1 year. These tests provide a better idea of what you home’s year-round average radon level is.
Radon can be controlled in any home once concentration levels are tested. There are some simple ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels. More than 60 radon mitigation contractors in Wisconsin are nationally certified to install radon mitigation systems. Once radon test results are received by the homeowner, Lincoln County Health Department can assist in providing resources for mitigation.
Radon test kits can be purchased at the Lincoln County Health Department 607 N. Sales Street, Merrill from 8:00am-4:30pm. If you have any questions or would like more information on radon please call Meghan Williams at the Lincoln County Health Department 715-536-0307 or the Northern Wisconsin Radon Information Center toll-free at 1-888-569-7236 (LOW- RADON).