National Radon Action Month: DHS encouraging testing of homes, childcare centers, other properties for odorless, radioactive gas

For the Tomahawk Leader

WISCONSIN – As part of National Radon Action Month, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is encouraging home and building owners, along with childcare providers, to test their properties for radon.

In a release, DHS said radon, an odorless, radioactive gas naturally present in the ground, is found across Wisconsin and enters buildings through their foundations.

Approximately one in ten Wisconsin homes has elevated radon levels, according to DHS.

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s action level for safety is 4 picocuries per liter (4 pCi/L),” DHS stated. “Last March, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) enacted rule changes which require licensed family and group child care providers to test for radon and install a mitigation system if radon levels exceed the EPA action level.”

“Reducing radon exposure is a top environmental health concern,” said Paula Tran, State Health Officer. “DHS applauds DCF for taking this important step toward protecting all Wisconsinites from exposure to radon by putting children, and their caretakers, first.”

DHS said radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, and it is estimated to cause over 21,000 deaths each year in the United States. Approximately 962 of these deaths are in Wisconsin.

High radon levels are especially dangerous for people who smoke, according to DHS. Their risk of lung cancer is ten times higher than non-smokers.

“Fortunately, this cause of lung cancer is largely preventable, and the first step is to test your house, apartment or business location for radon,” DHS stated.

DHS noted that the cost of mitigation can be a barrier for some families and businesses. State residents can visit to find Radon Information Centers (RIC) in Wisconsin or speak with local public health department radon experts by calling 888-LOW-RADON to discuss available options.

Reduced-cost test kits are available through RICs, and test kit promotions are happening throughout January.

“Any house or building can be at risk for high radon levels, including apartments and commercial buildings,” DHS said. “Landlords have a responsibility to provide safe living and working conditions to their tenants and should work with a certified radon testing and mitigation contractor to get started on addressing the issue for their tenants.”

DHS maintains a list of certified radon professionals that can provide radon measurement and mitigation and encourages homeowners and property owners to prioritize using a certified contractor. View the list at

More information about radon can be found at

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