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Citizens urged to test homes for radon

St. Croix County Public Health aligned with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in a major campaign to educate Americans about the dangers of radon exposure and to encourage them to take action to identify and fix radon problems in their homes.

St. Croix County Public Health is collecting local data to map areas of high radon. St. Croix County is in Zone 1 in the United States for radon results, which means there is a high chance for elevated radon levels. Many test results from Hudson and New Richmond have been 4-5 times the action level recommended by the EPA and others as high as 10 times this level. Local data confirms that 40% of St. Croix County homes test high for radon, which compares with 6% of homes across America.

Public Health will be taking part in the St. Croix Valley Home Builders Association Spring Expo Home & Sports Show at the Hudson Sport and Civic Center, on March 24-25, 2018. At the show, Public Health will be promoting techniques in construction that reduce the amount of radon gas that seeps into the house. Using these methods during construction reduces the cost as compared to installing a radon mitigation system in a home after the house is built. 

Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless gas that is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air, but when trapped in buildings, can be harmful at elevated levels. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reported that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and that it is a serious public health problem. The NAS concluded that radon causes between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year, about one third of them preventable. “Because you can’t see or smell radon,” says Ed Thurman, Environmental Health Specialist for St. Croix County Public Health, “people tend to minimize the health effects and ignore the possibility that it might exist in elevated levels in their homes.”

Because radon levels are so widespread and unpredictable, the only way to know if radon is elevated in your home is to do a radon test. Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and inexpensive. If discovered, radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost similar to that for many common home repairs. Radon is a serious public health hazard with a straightforward solution. Radon test kits that meet EPA guidelines will be available for reduced prices at the Spring Expo Home and Sports Show, 1820 Hanley Rd, Hudson, WI on March 24-25, 2018. For more information on radon, radon testing, and radon mitigation, see www.lowradon.org or contact Ed Thurman at 715-246-8370. For information on the Spring Expo Home & Sports Show, call 715-796-5377.