Medical

January is National Radon Action Month

January is National Radon Action Month

"Also when we have a patient with lung cancer who's a non-smoker, the first thing we do is check their home for radon".

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that forms naturally when radioactive metals break down in rocks, soil and groundwater.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. "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".

Radon results from the decay of uranium found in almost all soils. But the only way to know if radon is present is to test it. Kits can be picked up at the Outagamie County Public Health office.

Though radon can get into any type of building, including homes, offices, and schools, you and your family are likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, about 1 out of 10 homes in Wisconsin has high radon levels.

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Radon can cause lung cancer, and because January is National Radon Action Month, Jefferson County Public Health is handing out the kits.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is partnering with local public health departments to make test kits available to Minnesotans at low or no cost. Minnesota has high radon levels due to its unique geology and cold climate. People set it in their homes for several days, then drop it in a postage-paid envelope and send it for processing to a laboratory approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Radon mitigation professionals are trained to reduce radon in homes using ventilation and depressurization systems and other techniques. A radon testing kit can be purchased at most home or hardware stores. Logan County has an average radon level of 4.4 pCi/L.

McFarland added that it's important for people to keep in mind to correctly fill out the card that comes with the kit, indicating a start date and time when the test began followed by the end date and time. As with many home repairs, the cost of radon mitigation varies. "It's an easier time to test than the summer months". Twenty-nine percent of homes tested were above the 4 picoCuries per liter of air threshold. Confidential results are available online a few days later, or they can be mailed to the homeowner within approximately two weeks. Lincoln County Health Department is always working for a safer and healthier Lincoln County.


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