Health officials urge residents to test for radon

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If you haven't tested your home for radon recently, now's a good time. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the US and the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Prolonged exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

"We are offering radon test kits at half price to help Oakland County families protect themselves and their loved ones", said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health division manager.

Because radon poses a real health threat to Coloradans, Gov. John Hickenlooper has joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Safety in declaring January as National Radon Action Month for the state.

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Alpha radon particles are the result of long-term decay from shale and granite in our soils that makes their way into our homes. Radon can not be seen, smelled or tasted, making testing the only way to determine if it is in your home.

Radon usually comes from the surrounding rocks and soil under your home's foundation and can enter through cracks and openings on the lowest level of your home.

You're supposed to test for radon in the lowest part of your house and sometimes that may mean in your closet. Elevated levels have been found in all areas of the country, especially central Ohio.

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Free test kits are available at the Eureka County Cooperative Extension, 701 S. Main St., Eureka. Minnesota has high radon levels due to its unique geology and cold climate.

"Winter is simply a better time to test for radon because your house is more closed up than it is in the summer", Ridella said. Such systems should be installed by a certified mitigation contractor. According to the EPA, mitigation systems can cost between $800 and $2,500 with an average cost of $1,200. Short-term test kits run cost from $7.30 to $12. "It's an easier time to test than the summer months".

And if your test may have come back negative a few years ago, she recommends to continue to test your home in the future to avoid any harm. The envelope is sent to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality laboratory, where turnaround for the results is approximately two weeks.

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