The Wayne County Department of Public Health’s Environmental Health Division will distribute free radon test kits in observance of Federal Radon Action Week, Oct. 15-21, and encourages Wayne County residents to test their homes.
Free radon test kits are available while supplies last during the 2012-13 home heating season, as follows:
- Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
- Wayne County Environmental Health Division
- RESA Annex, 5454 S. Venoy, Wayne, Michigan
- Call 734.727.7400 for more information.
The week-long, annual observance was initiated in 1990 by Congressional resolution to increase public awareness concerning the effects of radon exposure, and takes place every October. It encourages Americans to test their homes for radon as a preventive measure and take action–as necessary–to reduce exposure.
Radon is a naturally-occurring, tasteless, odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that can pose a serious health threat.
Carol Austerberry, director, Wayne County Environmental Health Division, encourages area residents to obtain a kit and test their home during the cold weather heating season.
“Some area residents may be at risk of developing health problems from exposure to elevated and long-term levels of radon gas,” she said. “Testing your home is a simple, inexpensive, and important safeguard for your family’s health.”
Radon occurs naturally in soil, rock and groundwater. The gas can seep through soil and enter buildings through cavities andopenings in foundation floors or walls. Typical entry points include floor/wall joints, sump openings, crawlspaces, cracks in floors and areas around plumbing, wiring or ductwork.
Outdoors, radon is diluted by the atmosphere, but indoors, it can accumulate to unhealthy, hazardous levels.
And because radon is invisible and is odorless, it can go easily undetected.
“It doesn’t cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, skin rashes, or other warning symptoms, yet extended exposure to elevated radon levels may increase one’s risk of lung cancer, a generally fatal disease,” Austerberry said.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States– surpassed only by cigarette smoking –and is responsible for approximately 20,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. A Michigan Public Health Institute report estimates that more than 600 of those fatalities occur in Michigan.
However, potentially-dangerous radon levels can be detected through routine testing, which is both easy and inexpensive.
The free, do-it-yourself test kits distributed by Wayne County’s Environmental Health Division, include postage and fees for laboratory analysis and a results report sent to the consumer.
Kits are also readily available through local retailers.
If elevated radon levels are detected, residents should confirm the measurements with additional testing, and then take action to reduce the levels in their homes.
For more information on radon safety, testing or free test kit availability, call the Wayne County Environmental Health Division at 734-727-7400.
Source: Wayne County Health and Human Services Department