Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water within the earth.
As this gas moves up from the ground, it can find its way into homes through small openings and can build up inside the home.
Many things contribute to a home's radon levels, including characteristics of the home itself. As a result, radon is very site specific. Just because your neighbor doesn't have radon in their home will not guarantee that you don't have radon in yours!
Who is at Risk?
Elevated radon levels in homes are common in colder climates where homes are sealed against the weather and kept closed for much of the year. Of the tests conducted in Kent County homes during recent years, one in every seven (16%) have come back elevated.
Several studies have demonstrated that children are more susceptible to radon exposure than adults.
There are no early symptoms of radon exposure and no easy way to test individuals for exposure. The best prevention is to test the home.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, resulting in approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. Only smoking causes more lung cancer.
Testing your home for radon is very simple with a do-it-yourself test kit. These kits are easy and take just 3-7 days and are available from either the Kent County Health Department or the Healthy Homes Coalition for $5.00.
To order a test kit online, check out the Air Check, Inc. partnership with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality by clicking here. Kits through this partnership cost $7.95.
The negative effects from radon are 100% preventable. Test your home. If your home has elevated levels of radon, get it fixed as soon as possible. The average cost of fixing a radon problem in the U.S. is $1,200. Low-income families may qualify for assistance with radon mitigation.
For more information on testing your home or getting repairs for radon contact the Healthy Homes Coalition.