Wisconsin health officials, as part of National Radon Action Month, are encouraging homeowners to check their home's radon levels because exposure to radioactive radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers nationwide.
Radon is an odorless radioactive gas that is naturally present in the ground and can enter buildings through their foundations. Both old and newer homes can be susceptible to radon. Between 5 and 10 percent of Wisconsin homes have elevated airborne concentrations on the main living level where people spend the most time, according to state data.
An estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused by radon annually among non-smokers, according to reports by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Surgeon General.
Radon concentrations in indoor air can be measured with simple, inexpensive test kits available from hardware stores and local public health agencies. Winter is an ideal time to test for radon because windows and doors are closed.
More than 60 radon mitigation contractors in Wisconsin are nationally certified and install highly effective soil-depressurization radon control systems. Thousands of systems are installed in existing homes in Wisconsin each year. New construction should include features recommended by the National Association of Home Builders to reduce radon entry.
For information about radon in Wisconsin, visit: www.lowradon.org
The Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use – Environmental Health Division serves as The Southeastern Wisconsin Radon Information Center on behalf of Waukesha, Racine, and Milwaukee Counties. Radon test kits are available through many local home supply stores, through the Department by calling 262-896-8300, or your local public health agency.