OUR VIEW: Take advantage of free radon testing

January is National Radon Action Month, and we encourage everyone to test their home for radon.

District Health Department No. 10 is providing free radon test kits; because there are no signs of radon, testing is the only way to know if you are at risk.

There are a wide range of potentially dangerous materials that we come in contact with every day.

From cigarette smoke to vehicle exhaust and household cleaners, these all can be hazardous to our health.

However, these materials are all visible or give of some kind of odor.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas, that is invisible and odorless. The radioactive gas is found in rock and soil.

It’s usually harmless, but it can become dangerous when it’s trapped inside your home or other buildings.

Radon can move through cracks or small openings in a building’s foundation. It can build up and become harmful.

The gas can cause lung cancer.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each year about 21,000 Americans die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon. It is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates.

Radon will not cause any warning symptoms to let you know you are being exposed; it does not cause a rash, headache or nausea.

Any home could have a radon problem, whether it is new or old, built over a basement or crawlspace, or if your neighbor has a radon problem or not.

In Michigan, nearly one in eight homes is expected to have a radon problem, and in some counties as many as 45 percent of the homes could have problems.

We applaud the health department’s efforts to reduce radon poisoning and deaths.

We urge you to take action to reduce your exposure to radon; test your home.

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