Posted on 14 January 2016.
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.
While 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.
Posted in Featured, News
Posted on 23 October 2014.
National Radon Action Week is October 20-26, 2014, and occurs the 3rd week of October every year. Radon gas is becoming more of a widespread problem in the United States. In the U.S., one in fifteen homes are affected by elevated radon levels. Radon cannot be seen, it has no scent, and is colorless. Radon invades homes and buildings through foundation cracks and openings and even directly through concrete.
Radon gas is considered a carcinogen that comes from decayed radium and uranium in the soil. It is the #1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and causes people that do smoke greater chance of being diagnosed with lung cancer when exposed to this deadly gas. The EPA suggests levels of 4 (pCi/L) picocuries and above be addressed. Levels of 4 pCi/L is equivalent to 8 cigarettes a day or 250 chest x-rays per year. World Health Organization (WHO) states that 3% and 14% of lung cancer cases are caused by Radon, and suggests people take action against levels higher than 2.7 pCi/L.
The purpose of National Radon Action Week is to educate people about the health risks of radon, learning about radon gas itself, and also inform everyone how to test their homes for radon and what actions need to be taken if there are high levels of radon present. Radon is a problem that affects millions of homes, daycares, schools, and buildings across the country. This is the time to get informed in order to stay safe and healthy in the place you spend most of your time. Check with your local health department and home improvement store for radon test kits. Visit www.RadonWeek.org for more information.
Posted in Health
Posted on 23 October 2011.
October 17-24 is radon action week
Did you know that nearly 1 in 8 homes in our state could have a radon problem, and the residents would not know it? Colorless, odorless and tasteless, this radioactive gas can increase your risk of lung cancer. Now that many families are turning on their heat, it’s time to know if this dangerous gas is lingering in your home.
October 17-24 is Radon Action Week here in Michigan and across the United States. Health agencies throughout the United States have joined forces to promote awareness of the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control, and National Cancer Institute all agree that radon is a National health problem and encourage radon testing during the October awareness drive.
Radon is naturally occurring in rock and soil. It can enter 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, or houses built over a basement, over a crawlspace or built on slab-on-grade.
Millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. In fact, a recent study by Harvard University ranks radon as America’s #1 in-home hazard. By taking simple steps to test your home for radon and fix if necessary, this health hazard can be avoided. Radon gas is not isolated to certain geographical areas or home types. Radon problems have been detected in homes in every county of the U.S. It caused more American fatalities last year than carbon monoxide, fires, and handguns combined! If a home hasn’t been tested for radon in the past two years, EPA and the Surgeon General urge you to take action.
The only way to know if there is radon in your home is to test for it. Just hang a small filter in your home for about one week, and mail it for testing in a pre-paid envelope. You can buy this kit at the Kent County Health Department for just $5. Pick one up at 700 Fuller Ave., NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 or call them at 616-632-6900.
Radon test kits are also available from Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, 742 Franklin St., SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507, phone 616-241-3300.
In Montcalm County, check with the Mid-Michigan District Health Department, 615 N. State Rd., Suite 1, Stanton, MI 48888, phone 989-831-5237.
The federal commitment made by EPA, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Veterans Affairs will focus efforts on radon reduction and mitigation in homes, especially those of low-income families, many of whom do not have the resources to make the simple fixes necessary to protect their homes and loved ones. Learn more about the Federal Radon Action Plan at www.RadonPlan.org.
Posted in News
Posted on 20 January 2011.
(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.
Posted in Home and Garden