Exposure to radon gas is one of the major contributors to lung cancer nationally, yet many people aren’t aware that an easy-to-use test kit can tell them if their home has high radon levels. That’s why Governor Tony Evers has proclaimed January National Radon Action Month for Wisconsin residents.
“About one out of every ten homes in Wisconsin has high radon levels. Any home, whether old, new, with or without a basement can have radon,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “Since you cannot smell, taste, or see radon, the only way to know if you have high radon levels is to test for it. Test kits are available to help protect you and your family from radon exposure.”
Radon, an odorless radioactive gas naturally present in the ground, can enter buildings through their foundations. Radon concentrations in the air can be measured with a test kit available from hardware stores and local public health agencies.
Radon causes more lung cancer among non-smokers than second-hand tobacco smoke. An estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year among non-smokers are caused by radon, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Surgeon General.
More than 100 radon mitigation contractors in Wisconsin are nationally certified to install radon mitigation systems if elevated radon levels are found. Thousands of systems are installed in existing homes in Wisconsin each year. Newly constructed homes should include features recommended by the National Association of Home Builders to reduce radon entry.
“Radon is found all over Wisconsin and testing for it is an easy, low-cost way to help save a life, or many lives,” said Dr. Jasmine Zapata, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) chief medical officer for community health. Reduced-cost test kits are available through Radon Information Centers (RIC) in Wisconsin and test kit promotions are happening throughout January. The cost of mitigation can be a barrier for some families, and Wisconsin residents can visit lowradon.org to find their RIC or speak with local public health department radon experts by calling 1-888 LOW-RADON to discuss available options.