January 12, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Department of Environmental Quality Director Steven E. Chester reminded Michigan homeowners today to start the new year off right by testing their home for radon. Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has proclaimed January to be Radon Action Month in Michigan, noting that radon is believed to be the second leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause among nonsmokers.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas found in almost any kind of soil or rock. It travels through the ground, and is quickly diluted when released to the atmosphere, however when it seeps into homes through openings in the foundation floor or walls, it can build up to unhealthy levels.
“Radon is tasteless, odorless, and colorless, which too often makes it easy to ignore,” said Director Chester. “The reality is that nearly one in eight Michigan homes could have an indoor radon problem and the only way to know if your family is at risk is to test your home.”
The DEQ is partnering with local health departments to ensure a source of low-cost test kits in every county this year. Most local health departments offer the kits for $15 or less, and many will be selling them at discounted prices during the month of January. Kits obtained from the local health departments include the postage to mail the device to an out-of-state laboratory, the fees for having the device analyzed, and a report sent back to the user.
For those who cannot get to their local health department during normal business hours, kits can be obtained online at http://mi.radon.com. Like the local health department kits, these kits include postage and lab fees in the price.
Test kits may also be available from some hardware stores or home improvement centers, but not all include postage and analysis, so citizens are urged to read the packaging before making their purchase.
The National Academy of Sciences estimates that about 15,000 Americans die annually from radon-related lung cancer, and a Michigan Public Health Institute report estimates more than 600 new lung cancer cases in Michigan are attributable to indoor radon each year.
Radon tests should be done in the lowest livable level of the home during the cooler months of the year, when windows and doors are normally kept closed. If the test indicates an elevated radon level, more testing should be done to confirm the problem and appropriate actions taken to reduce the levels when needed.
To find out more about radon, visit the DEQ Web site at www.michigan.gov/deqradon or call the DEQ Radon Program at 1-800-RADON-GAS (1-800-723-6642) for a free packet of information.
Editor’s note: DEQ news releases are available on the department’s Internet home page at www.michigan.gov/deq.
“Protecting Michigan’s Environment, Ensuring Michigan’s Future”