contributed…..January is national radon awareness month.  It is the time of year to bring attention to the dangers and health risks associated with radon gas in your home.Radon is an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas that seeps through the ground and into your home.  The winter months provide higher radon levels in homes than do warmer seasons of the year.  Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 22,000-25,000 people die each year of lung cancer caused by radon.  Health effects from radon do not happen overnight.  The lung cancer that develops takes a long period of time to appear.  Testing radon levels in your home today may prevent lung cancer for you and your family in the future.

Radon comes from the decay of the element Uranium which is commonly found in Wisconsin soils.  Radon gas can get through small cracks and crevices in the foundation of your home.  It is most prevalent in the lower most part of your home.  Radon can be found in houses of all geographic locations and of all ages.  Radon can vary from house to house, so relying on a neighbor’s radon test is not advised when trying to determine your home’s radon level.

Fortunately, it is easy and inexpensive to test for.  The South Central Environmental Health Consortium (SCEHC), serving Sauk, Columbia, Adams, and Juneau counties, provides cheap home test kits.  These can be purchased from your local health department or one of nine radon test distribution centers throughout the counties.  This short-term test kit determines the radon level over a 48 hour period and costs $10.00.

The SCEHC has multiple staff members certified in radon measurement.  The SCEHC will provide advice and information on any questions regarding radon. To purchase a radon kit, contact the Juneau County Health Department at 608-847-9373.