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January is radon action month

January is radon action month

Testing helps detect hazard as more work from home

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared January 2021 as Radon Action Month in Michigan, and she encourages all Michigan residents to learn more about this environmental hazard and test their homes during the heating season.

You cannot see, smell or taste radon, and there are no short-term side effects that could cause alarm or warn of its presence.  However, long-term exposure to radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer, which accounts for more deaths in both men and women than any other form of cancer in the United States. Behind smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is considered a leading environmental cause of cancer mortality in the United States.

Radon testing takes on increased importance with many Michiganders now working from home. It is easy, inexpensive, and the only way to determine if a radon problem exists.  Residents are encouraged to test for radon every two to five years. If a radon mitigation system was previously installed in the home, residents are encouraged to test every two years to make sure that radon levels remain in the acceptable range.

One in every four Michigan homes is expected to have radon levels exceeding federal action level of 4.0 picocuries per liter.  Radon poses a serious threat to our community’s health, but high radon concentrations are also easily fixed.

You can pick up a radon test kit at the Kent County Health Department at 700 Fuller Ave, in Grand Rapids. Enter through the Environmental Health entrance on the east side of the building, near the Animal Shelter. They have a stand set up in the vestibule with brochures and kits, where you can help yourself. There are a set of instructions with each kit, telling you what to do and where to send it after you do the test.

If you don’t live in Kent County, you can go to Michigan.gov/Radon, call 800-723-6642, email Radon@Michigan.gov, or just stop at a local hardware store.  To access new resources and information including radon testing, mitigation, and levels across the state, visit Michigan.gov/Radon.  For a packet of information about radon, e-mail Radon@Michigan.gov, or call 800-RADONGAS (800-723-6642).

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