MANISTEE — District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a nationwide campaign to educate Americans about the dangers of radon exposure.
DHD#10 is encouraging people to act to protect their homes and families by testing their homes for radon during National Radon Action Month. During the month of January, any resident who visits their local DHD#10 office can ask to receive a free radon testing kit and resources to educate themselves about this environmental hazard.
Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas found in rock and soil. Radon is usually harmless but can become dangerous when it is trapped inside buildings and homes. Radon can seep into homes through cracks and small openings in the foundation; it doesn’t matter whether the home is new or old or built over a basement or crawlspace. In Michigan, nearly one in eight homes is expected to have a radon problem, and in some counties, as many as 40-45% of homes could be affected.
“If radon is present in your home, it has the potential to build up and become harmful,” said Tom Reichard, DHD#10 environmental health director. “Because there are no physical signs: rash, nausea, headache, that will alert people to the presence of radon in their homes, people tend to downplay the health effects and ignore the possibility that there might be a silent killer lurking. Testing for radon is the only way to know for sure if you are being exposed.”
Scientists have long been concerned about the health risk of radon, but never before has there been such overwhelming evidence that exposure to elevated levels of radon causes lung cancer in humans. According to the EPA, each year radon is responsible for approximately 21,000 American lung cancer deaths and is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
For more information on radon or radon testing, visit www.dhd10.org/contact-us/ or call (888) 217-3904 to connect with your local DHD#10 office.