From Richland Public Health:
The Environmental Health Division of Richland Public Health wants county residents to take advantage of “National Radon Action Month” and test their homes for the presence of radon gas. FREE radon test kits (one per home) can be picked up at the Environmental Health Department window at Richland Public Health, 555 Lexington Avenue in Mansfield. Please bring your driver’s license with you.
Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the soil. It is odorless, colorless and chemically inactive, a natural product of the disintegration of uranium. Radon usually does not present a health risk outdoors because it is diluted in the open air. Radon can, however, build up to dangerous levels inside a house. One out of every 15 homes is estimated to have high radon levels. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer (after smoking) in the United States, causing more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths annually.
Joe Harrod, Director of Environmental Health at Richland Public Health, says the home testing kits are the best way for a home owner to find out if he/she has a problem and take steps to control exposure at home if necessary.
“If a reading of 4.0 pico-curies of radon per liter of air or higher (the EPA suggested action level) is indicated by the initial short term test, we recommend a second, longer term test to properly evaluate the extent of the problem.” Harrod said. “In most cases the control measures are reasonably inexpensive such as improving air circulation, sealing of cracks in basement floors or walls, and venting of sumps.”
The initial screening test takes 3-7 days to run and results are reported within 5-7 days of sample submission. Harrod notes that the Richland Public Health can provide consultative assistance with interpretation of the results and a follow up plan if needed.
Additional information on radon is available through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website at www.epa.gov/radon/index.html or you can download this Radon brochure (PDF) from Richland Public Health.