National Radon Action Month: LCHD urges public to get homes tested

For the Tomahawk Leader

LINCOLN COUNTY – January is National Radon Action Month, and the Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD) is recommending that the public test their homes for radon.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is natural in soil and rock. Radon enters buildings through cracks in the basement, walls and gaps around pipes.

“Both old and new buildings can have unsafe radon levels,” LCHD stated in a release. “The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) estimates that one out of every 10 homes has high radon levels of greater than 4 pCi/L.”

Radon gas causes more than 20,000 deaths in the United States each year, LCHD said, adding that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the first leading cause among non-smokers.

“Since we live in a region with naturally high levels of radon, everyone should test their home,” said Meghan Williams, Environmental Health Specialist for LCHD. “The only way to know if your home has unsafe levels is to test for it.”

LCHD noted that testing for radon is inexpensive and easy, and can be completed in a “Do-It-Yourself” fashion. Radon test kits are available for purchase at most hardware stores.

“Radon levels can be lowered in any home, and new houses can be built to be radon-resistant,” LCHD stated. “This involves installing a system to vent the radon gas outside and get it out of the building. Even very high levels can be dropped to acceptable levels.”

Certified contractors in Wisconsin can be found online at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/radon/radon-proficiency.htm.

To learn more about radon, contact LCHD at 715-536-0307 or the Northern Wisconsin Radon Information Center toll-free at 1-888-569-7236 (LOW-RADON).

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