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Governor Snyder Declares Radon Action Week Encourages Home Radon Testing

Agency: Environmental Quality

October 17, 2011                                                                                            11-0926

 

For More Information               Brad Wurfel, 517-373-7917, wurfelb@michigan.gov

                                                 Leslie Smith, 517-327-2618, smithl9@michigan.gov

 

 

Governor Rick Snyder has declared the week of October 16-22, 2011, to be Radon Action Week in Michigan, and he is encouraging all Michigan residents to learn more about this environmental hazard and test their homes during the coming heating season.

 

Radon is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in soil and rock.  It normally travels up and out to the atmosphere where it is quickly diluted, but when it is trapped under a home's foundation, it can leak into the home through cracks and openings in the floor or walls, and exposure over time can increase one's risk of lung cancer.

 

Radon is believed to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the leading cause among nonsmokers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that it results in more than 20,000 lung cancer cases each year, and a Michigan Public Health Institute report indicates that more than 600 of those may occur in Michigan alone. 

 

Residential surveys estimate that more than one in eight Michigan homes would be expected to have a radon problem, and while some counties have a higher incidence than others, any home could have a problem. There are no warning signs or symptoms, so each home must be tested.

 

Testing is easy and inexpensive, and the Department of Environmental Quality is partnering with local health departments to ensure that radon test kits and literature are accessible to all Michigan residents. The kits generally cost $15 or less from county or city health departments, and the price includes postage and lab fees. Kits can be found at some hardware stores or home improvement centers, but not all include postage and lab fees in the retail price, so consumers are urged to read the packaging before making their purchase. Kits can also be purchased online from the manufacturer.

 

Closed house conditions are required for radon screening measurements, so it is best to do the test during the cold weather heating season when doors and windows are normally kept closed. If testing indicates an elevated radon level greater than 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/l) of air, additional testing should be done to confirm the problem.  If the radon level is confirmed to be greater than the recommended action level of 4 pCi/l, then action should be taken to reduce the radon levels.

 

For more information about radon, visit http://www.michigan.gov/radon, or call the DEQ's Indoor Radon Program at 1-800-RADON GAS (1-800-723-6642) for a free packet of information.

 

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