Radon can't be seen, smelled, or tasted, but high levels of radon gas may build up in residents’ homes, increasing their risk of lung cancer. Fortunately, testing is easy and high radon levels can be lowered.
This month, Radon Action Month, Barry-Eaton District Health Department is offering free radon test kits.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of radium. Radium, in turn, is a natural decay product of uranium.
Both radium and uranium are found in almost any kind of soil and rock, often in very small amounts. Radon moves up through 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.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. It is important for residents to know their home’s radon level and to take action to lower it if it’s too high.
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 percent of the homes have had radon levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended action level. The only way to know if a home has high radon levels is to test it.
Easy, do-it-yourself radon test kits are available for free to residents of Barry and Eaton counties this month. There is a limit of one kit per address. Kits are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and supplies are limited. After using it, the kit should be sent to the lab for testing.
More information about radon can be found on the website barryeatonhealth.org/healthy-homes or call or visit the health department in Hastings or Charlotte.
Residents may pick up a free kit at various locations, including:
• Hastings, health department at 330 W. Woodlawn Ave., 269-945-9516
• Delton, Delton District Library, 330 N. Grove St., 269-623-8040
• Bellevue, Riverside Café, 420 E. Capital Ave., 269-763-9481
• Charlotte, health department at 1033 Healthcare Drive, (517) 541-2615
• Lansing, Delta Township Hall, Assessing Department, 7710 W. Saginaw Highway, 517-323-8520