It is estimated that one in every four Michigan homes has radon levels that exceed the recommended federal action level. Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas found in almost any kind of soil or rock, is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon exposure results in more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. every year.
Radon comes from the natural breakdown of radium and uranium underground. Radon gas can move freely through soil and up into the atmosphere where it is safely diluted. However, when radon enters a building it can become concentrated and reach unhealthy levels. Radon can enter a building through cracks and openings in the foundation, floor, or walls. Openings caused by sump pumps, plumbing, wiring, or ductwork can all become points of entry for radon.
According to the EPA and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, & Energy (EGLE), buildings within Lenawee County are expected to have indoor levels of radon that are greater than the federal action level of 4 picocuries per liter. Homes that meet or exceed this action level are strongly encouraged to take corrective action to reduce exposure to radon gas.
Due to the fact that radon is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas, the only way to detect it is through testing. In conjunction with National Radon Action Month, the Lenawee County Health Department is offering free, easy-to-use radon test kits throughout the month of January. The best way to obtain a test kit is to request one through the health department’s website at https://www.lenawee.mi.us/FormCenter/Health-Department-27/Radon-Test-Kit-Request-Form-152. Residents who submit a request online will be contacted by phone when their kit is ready to be picked up. Additionally, residents may visit the health department to request and receive a test kit in person. Anyone with questions or who is unable to request a test kit online can contact the health department directly by phone at 517-264-5213, or by sending an e-mail to Ehdesk@lenawee.mi.us. For more information on radon, visit our website at www.lenaweehealthdepartment.org.