January is National Radon Action ….
January is National Radon Action Month. Radon is a natural, radioactive gas that claims about 21,000 lives each year. It is the leading cause of death from lung cancer among nonsmokers in the United States. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, “1 in 10 homes in Wisconsin has unsafe levels of radon.”
Radon comes from the natural decay of uranium found in rocks, soil, and water. It is an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas. Radon is not an irritant to the eyes or nose, nor is it an allergen. The only risk from radon in air is lung cancer, which is caused by many years of breathing it in.
The unsafe level of radon exposure is 4 pCi/L (picoCurries per liter of air). At this level, roughly seven people will develop lung cancer per 1,000 individuals exposed among nonsmokers, and that risk escalates to 62 people per 1,000 individuals exposed among smokers. As the exposure level doubles, so does the risk of developing lung cancer for smokers and nonsmokers alike. So it is important to test your home for radon gas to help reduce your risk of developing lung cancer later in life. Radon test kits are available from local hardware stores and with the Clark County Health Department.
On the bright side, lung cancer caused by radon is largely preventable and radon can be controlled in any home. A certified contractor can install a radon mitigation system for around $1,200. This system will greatly reduce the concentration of radon in your home.
The Clark County Health Department has short term radon kits available for $6. Call 715-743-5105 for more information.