Western UP Health Department

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Residents should pick up a free radon test kit during Radon Action Month

January is Radon Action Month and the Western UP Health Department (WUPHD) offers free radon test kits. While test kits are available year around, the most accurate time to test is in the winter months.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas from the soil and rocks underneath our homes. You cannot see, smell or taste radon, and there are no short-term side effects that could cause alarm or warn of its presence. Behind smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and considered a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

Elevated radon levels have been found in all 83 Michigan Counties. The percentage of homes with elevated radon in the Western Upper Peninsula, based on those who have tested, ranges from 5% to 12%, with the highest levels in Gogebic and Houghton County.  If the level is at or above 4 pCi/L, the WUPHD recommends taking action to lower the level.  Testing in the last couple of years has seen elevated levels upward of 36 pCi/L in some area homes.  With more residents staying home due to COVID-19, WUPHD encourages testing.

A free Radon test can be obtained by visiting one of our offices in Hancock, Bessemer, Ontonagon, or L’anse. The test kit is very easy to use, simply hang it in your lowest living area of your home for three to seven days, and then mail it to the lab for analysis. You will receive testing results indicating the level of radon gas in your home. The WUPHD is available to help you interpret your results and to give advice on lowering radon levels in your home.

To get your free radon testing kit, visit https://www.wupdhd.org/radon-test-kit-request/ or click on the “Request a Radon Test” button on the bottom of the main page www.wuphd.org. You can also stop and pick one up at any of our offices.

WUPHD encourages area builders to learn more about radon and radon resistant construction techniques to protect their customers. For more information about radon testing and other information, including resources for homeowners builders, realtors, teachers and healthcare providers, go to Michigan.gov/Radon, or call EGLE’s Indoor Radon hotline at 800-RADONGAS or 800-723-6642.