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Radon testing kits available through the health department

January is national Radon Awareness Month

HANCOCK – Radon cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted, but high levels of radon gas may be in residents’ homes, increasing their risk of lung cancer. Fortunately, testing is easy and high radon levels can be lowered. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, causing an estimated 21,000 deaths annually.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. Radon moves up though the soil and enters buildings through cracks and openings in the foundation, floor, or walls, including at floor/wall joints, sump openings, and other openings caused by plumbing, wiring, or ductwork. Outdoors, radon is diluted by the atmosphere to safe levels. However, radon can concentrate in indoor air and reach unhealthy levels.

“January is National Radon Awareness Month”, WUPHD Environmental Health Director Tanya Rule states, “WUPHD is taking the opportunity to let the public know about radon testing, mitigation resources, and the importance of testing your home.”

According to a Michigan survey, high levels of radon are expected in one out of eight Michigan homes. In some counties, as many as 45% of the homes have radon levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recommended action level (4 pCi/L).

“Approximately 12% of homes tested in the Western UP (Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon) registered radon results above the EPA action level. While higher results have averaged between 4 and 20 pCi/L, results up to 100 pCi/L have been observed” says Rule.

To obtain a free radon test kit, stop by your local Western Upper Peninsula Health Department Office located in Baraga, Bessemer, Hancock, and Ontonagon. For more information about radon, radon mitigation, and radon-resistant new home construction, please visit www.wuphd.org, or call (906) 482-7382.

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