HANCOCK - Radon Action Month will be starting in January and there are a few things people should know to keep themselves safe from this cancer-causing gas.
Throughout the month, health agencies throughout the United States will be working together to promote awareness of this gas. The American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute all believe radon is a national health problem and encourage people to have radon testing done.
Western Upper Peninsula Health Department Environmental Health Sanitarian Glen Anderson said the gas is a byproduct of uranium where it can concentrate itself in certain areas.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
This Daily Mining Gazette file photo shows a radon test kit. January is Radon Action Month.
"You'll never know it's there," Anderson said. "If you have radon and smoke (tobacco), it can actually make it worse."
Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas and about one in 15 homes currently contains high levels of radon.
To combat this, the WUPHD offers free radon testing kits.
"We offer a snapshot test. It's just a little envelope and there's material in it that catches it," Anderson said.
A person must go to the health department to pick up the free test.
Anderson also said they don't currently have enough information to tell which houses may affected.
"If your neighbor has it, you might want to test it," Anderson said.
Radon is not isolated to certain geographical areas or homes. According to a press release from the Cancer Prevention Centers, radon has actually been detected in every county in the United States.
For more information about radon, contact the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department at 482-7382.