Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Health | By Jay Jacobs

County is giving away radon test kits

County is giving away radon test kits

"Testing your home is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk of radon exposure".

Radon is linked to more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the US each year.

Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas, and it is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

Adams says the problem is you don't know if your house has unsafe levels unless you test for the colorless, odorless, gas. The aggregated information from the test results will be used to update statewide Radon Potential Maps, which show the likelihood of radon in a specific region.

Stacey McFarland, with the county's Environmental Health Services Office, said it's best to place the kit at the lowest level in the home, preferably the basement. The test is simple, quick, and cheap.

The health department, 3415 28th St., Port Huron, has a limited number of free radon test kits that it's handing out as part of National Radon Detection Month. Test kits are available for pick up at Steele County Public Health, 635 Florence Avenue, Owatonna, (507) 444-7650.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers a harmful level of radon gas, known as the indoor radon gas "action limit", to be an indoor radon concentration meeting or exceeding 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). "It's important to note that while there will always be a positive reading for radon in every home, it may not be at what is called an action level".

The risk to smokers increases significantly when living in a high-radon environment, such as our area.

Kits can be picked up at the public health clinic on Meade Street Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.to 4:30 p.m.

The good news is test kits are pretty cheap at $10. Perform a radon test after installing a new heating system or central air conditioning. At the end of three days, the kit is mailed (pre-addressed and postage paid) to North Carolina with results available online four days later. According to the EPA, mitigation systems can cost between $800 and $2,500 with an average cost of $1,200.

The Extension Office has partnered with San Juan Basin Public Health to present several community meetings to discuss radon.

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