For the City Times
Radon Exposure Is The Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer
Exposure to radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers nationally, yet many people aren’t aware that an easy-to-use test kit can tell them if their home has high radon levels.
Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed January National Radon Action Month for Wisconsin residents. An estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year among non-smokers are caused by radon, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Surgeon General.
“Fortunately this cause of lung cancer is largely preventable, and the first step is to test your home,” said Dr. Jon Meiman, Chief Medical Officer of the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health in DHS. “If elevated radon is found, it can be easily and effectively corrected.”
Radon, an odorless radioactive gas naturally present in the ground, can enter buildings through their foundations.
“Wood county is listed as a high risk area for radon by the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Greg Kolodziej, Environmental Health Specialist at the Wood County Health Department.“Radon levels vary around the country depending on the level of uranium in the local bedrock. Wood county is listed as a high risk area for radon by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) The only way to accurately know your radon exposure is to test.”
Both old and newer homes can be susceptible to radon.
Radon concentrations in air can be measured with simple, inexpensive test kits available from hardware stores and local public health agencies. Wood County Health Department always has radon test kits on hand, but for the month of January they are half price: $5 dollars (originally $10 dollars). Radon kits are simple to use and results are received in as little as two weeks.
More than 100 radon mitigation contractors in Wisconsin are nationally certified to install radon control systems. Thousands of systems are installed in existing homes in Wisconsin each year. Newly constructed homes should include features recommended by the National Association of Home Builders to reduce radon entry.
Wood County residents are encouraged to call their local public health department for more information at 715-421-8911 or stop in Monday-Friday 8:00-4:30 PM to pick up a radon test kit.