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Kent County offering free radon test kits


You can’t see, smell or taste radon but the radioactive gas can kill. Next to smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 20,000 Americans every year, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) recommends that all homes should be tested for radon every few years. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as national Radon Action Month, a perfect time for you to protect your family by testing your home. Testing is the only way to know if radon is present in your home.

N-Radon2While supplies last, KCHD is offering free radon test kits to Kent County residents. “Testing for radon is an easy and important step in protecting the health of your family,” says Sara Simmonds, supervising sanitarian with the Kent County Health Department. “The kit is easy to use. Simply hang a filter inside your house for a few days, then send it in a self-addressed, pre-stamped envelope for testing.”

Residents using the kits and the State of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality will both receive the results. Residents can use the information when deciding on how best to pursue remediation, and the state gains a better understanding of the locations and prevalence of radon in Michigan. For help understanding the test results, please contact the KCHD Environmental Health Division at 616-632-6900.

Radon occurs naturally in the ground. It seeps into buildings through cracks or openings in the foundation of floors and walls, around sump openings, or spaces around plumbing. It occurs in both new and old homes. Radon has been found in houses built over a basement, over a crawlspace or built on slab-on-grade. The EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a map of risk zones for the United States. You can view the risk maps by going online to http://www.epa.gov/radon/find-information-about-local-radon-zones-and-radon-programs#radonmap. Kent County is typically categorized as having a moderate to high levels of radon.

The kits are available Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the:

  • Kent County Health Department, 700 Fuller Avenue NE, Grand Rapids KCHD
  • North County Clinic at 4388 14 Mile Road NE, Rockford
  • KCHD South Clinic at 4700 Kalamazoo SE, Kentwood

Only one kit will be given per household.

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January is radon action month

(Grand Rapids, MI) – Radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. You can’t see, smell, or taste radon, so what can you do to protect your home? Get it tested. Test kits are inexpensive and can be purchased from local hardware stores or from the Environmental Health Division of the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). The Health Department is located at 700 Fuller NE, Grand Rapids.
“Protecting indoor air is a vital part of maintaining a healthy home,” said Cathy Raevsky, Administrative Health Officer for KCHD. “With 16 percent of homes tested in Kent County having an elevated radon level, it is important for homeowners to take action. Getting tested is a simple way to protect your family.”
Radon is created by the breakdown of uranium in soil. It finds its way into homes and other buildings through passages like cracks in the foundation, and is second only to smoking as the leading cause of lung cancer. It is estimated that one in eight Michigan homes has an elevated level of radon. January is National
Radon Action Month and is an ideal time to test your home, because chilly weather means windows are closed, air is stagnant, and if radon is present, it will be more concentrated.
The test kits are easy to use and include confirmatory testing and referrals to approved radon contractors if necessary. The kits cost $5. To date, KCHD has received nearly 8,000 test results from homes across the county. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/radon.

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