Sara Swanson

Half-priced radon test kits available through county

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washtenaw health

January is National Radon Action Month. Half-priced radon test kits are available at Washtenaw County Public Health’s Environmental Health Division through January 31, 2017.

“Every home in Washtenaw County should be tested for radon,” says Kristen Schweighoefer, MPH, RS, environmental health director. “Winter is the best time to test because homes are closed up tight and people are spending more time indoors. This gives us the worst-case scenario and the best indication of risk.”

Radon home test kits can be purchased for $5 at Public Health’s Environmental Health Division, between the hours of 8:30 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday located in the Western Washtenaw County Service Center at 705 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Contact Angela Parsons at parsonsa@ewashtenaw.org or (734) 222-3869 with questions.

Radon is a tasteless, colorless, and odorless radioactive gas. It is found in nearly all types of soil and rock. Due to the geology in this area, we tend to see high levels of radon in Washtenaw County homes. Radon can enter through cracks in the foundation, dirt floors, hollow-block walls, and openings around floor drains and sump pumps. Any home could have high levels of radon. Whether a home is new or old, with or without a basement – it could still have radon. The only way to know for sure is to test.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers in the United States. Research shows that radon is responsible for over 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year, with 2,900 of those deaths occurring among people who have never smoked.

Although no level of radon is considered absolutely safe, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking action when levels are above 4.0 pCi/L inside a home. For comparison, the average indoor radon level in the United States is about 1.3 pCi/L, and the average outdoor level is about 0.4 pCi/L.

Washtenaw County Public Health has been distributing radon home test kits for over 20 years, with nearly 10,000 radon tests conducted. Results from these tests show that as many as 40% of homes have elevated radon levels, with the average level across the Washtenaw County at 5.6 pCi/L. Several zip code areas average even higher levels of radon.

Regardless of where you live in Washtenaw County, you should test your home for radon. If a home is found to have elevated levels, the radon can be reduced by installing a mitigation system. Depending on the home and contractor, a typical radon mitigation system costs approximately $1,000.

The radon test kits will remain available for purchase after January 31 at the regular price of $10. Radon test kits can also be mailed to residents for an additional $2. To purchase a kit by mail, please contact Angela Parsons at (734) 222-3869.

Washtenaw County Public Health promotes health and works to prevent disease and injury in our community. Our mission is to assure, in partnership with the community, the conditions necessary for people to live healthy lives through prevention and protection programs.

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