Radon can't be seen, smelled, or tasted, but high levels of radon gas may be in residents’ homes, increasing their risk of lung cancer. Fortunately, testing is easy and high radon levels can be lowered. January is Radon Action Month, and Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is offering free radon test kits for the entire month.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of radium. Radium, in turn, is a natural decay product of uranium. Both radium and uranium are found in almost any kind of soil and rock, often in very small amounts. Radon moves up through the soil and enters buildings through cracks and openings in the foundation, floor, or walls, including at floor/wall joints, sump openings, and other openings caused by plumbing, wiring, or ductwork.
Outdoors, radon is diluted by the atmosphere to safe levels. However, radon can concentrate in indoor air and reach unhealthy levels. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. It is very important for residents to know their home’s radon level and to take action to lower it if it’s too high.
According to a Michigan survey, high levels of radon are expected in one out of eight Michigan homes. In some counties, as many as 45 percent of the homes have had radon levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recommended action level (4 pCi/L). The only way to know if a home has high radon levels is to test it.
Easy, do-it-yourself radon test kits are available for free to residents of Barry and Eaton counties during January, which is Radon Action Month. There is a limit of one kit per address. Kits are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and supplies are limited. Residents can pick up a kit at one of the below locations. After using it at home, they should send it to the lab for testing!
Hastings: Health Department, 330 W. Woodlawn Ave. (269) 945-9516
Charlotte: Health Department, 1033 Healthcare Dr. (517) 541-2615
Lansing: Delta Township Hall, 7710 W. Saginaw Hwy. (517) 323-8520
Bellevue: Riverside Café, 420 E. Capital Ave. (269) 763-9481
Delton: Delton District Library, 330 N. Grove St. (269) 623-8040
For more information about radon, residents can visit https://www.barryeatonhealth.org/healthy-homes or call or visit BEDHD in Hastings at 330 W. Woodlawn Ave. ( 945-9516) or in Charlotte at 1033 Health Care Dr. ( 541-2615).