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January is Radon Awareness Month

January is National Radon Awareness Month. Radon is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless radioactive gas that is naturally occurring in soil or rock. Radon gas, if present where a home was built, may be able to seep into the home and cause long term health issues. It will quickly be diluted to safe levels when it reaches the atmosphere, but if it is able to enter homes through openings in the foundation floor or walls, it can build up to unhealthy and unsafe levels.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. It is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year, and it is estimated that more than 600 of those occur in Michigan.

Public Health, Delta & Menominee Counties will provide free radon test kits (normally $16) for residents of Delta and Menominee counties for the month of January in order to encourage residents to test their homes for the radioactive gas. Tests kits can be picked up at both the Delta County office (2920 College Ave, Escanaba) and the Menominee County office (909 Tenth Ave, Menominee). Test kits are available for one kit per household.

The test kits are hung in the lowest livable floor of the home and over 3-7 days collect radon particles in the air. After 3-7 days, the kit is sealed and mailed in a provided envelope. If unsafe levels of radon are found, residents can then take a proactive approach to mitigate the gas and bring levels to a safe concentration.

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