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Health department offers free radon test kits

LANSING, Mich. – Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It is a naturally-occurring gas that cannot be seen or smelled. The only way to detect it is to test for it.

January is National Radon Action Month. To encourage Ingham County residents to test for the hazardous gas, the health department is giving away free testing kits.

“Any home could have a radon problem,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “There are no symptoms of exposure and no physical signs to alert someone of a radon problem. People must test their homes to know if they are being exposed.”

The testing kits are easy to use and are available year-round through the Ingham County Health Department’s Environmental Health Division, located at 5303 S. Cedar Street in Lansing, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Radon test kits may also be purchased at most hardware stores and home improvement centers for $10-$20.

Radon is radioactive gas that occurs naturally as uranium breaks down in the earth. It enters the home through openings in the foundation or walls. Testing during the winter months is ideal because typically windows are closed and fans are off.

Each year, radon is responsible for approximately 20,000 lung cancer deaths. The longer a person is exposed and the higher the levels, the greater the risk. If a test reveals elevated levels, a mitigation system can be installed to address the problem.