The Department of Natural Resources and Environment and Governor Jennifer M. Granholm this week, October 17-23 as Radon Action Week.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is radioactive. Radon exposure is believed to be the second leading cause of lung cancer nationwide, causing approximately 600 new cases of lung cancer each year in Michigan alone.
Considering the high risks of radon exposure, and the low cost of testing for unsafe radon levels, DNRE Director Rebecca Humphries is encouraging all homeowners statewide to obtain a radon test kit from their county or city health department during Radon Action Week.
“Regardless of how old or new a home is, it could have a radon issue. In Michigan, it is estimated that as many as one in eight homes could have elevated levels of radon,” Humphries said.
Radon occurs naturally in the ground and normally does not pose a health risk, since it is diluted upon contact with the air. But in cases where radon is trapped under a building or home, it can work its way into the building’s indoor air environment and accumulate to levels that affect human health over time.
“Exposure to radon does not cause any warning symptoms, such as headaches or nausea. The only known health effect is an increased risk of lung cancer,” said DNRE Indoor Radon Specialist Sue Hendershott. “If unsafe levels of radon are detected, the levels can be reduced to protect your and your family’s health. But the only way to know if a problem exists is to take the first step and have your home tested.”
Inexpensive home radon testing kits are available from county and city health departments statewide, and some counties are even providing the kits for free during Radon Action Week. To find out where you can get a home testing kit, go online to www.michigan.gov/radon and click on Where to Get a Radon Test Kit, or call the DNRE’s Indoor Radon Program at 1-800-RADON-GAS for more information.