In recognition of National Radon Action Month, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is encouraging Ohioans to test their homes for the radioactive gas and take steps to reduce risk if elevated levels are detected. Richland Public Health is helping to make that possible.
“Long-term exposure to high levels of radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer overall and the top cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers,” said ODH Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH. “Running this easy, inexpensive test is an important first step in protecting your family from a devastating disease that kills thousands of Ohioans each year.”
Colorless and odorless, radon is produced naturally with the decay of uranium in rocks and soil. It can migrate into any type of home through cracks or openings in the foundation. According to data collected by the ODH Radon Education and Licensing Program, elevated levels of the gas have been found in homes in all 88 Ohio counties. It’s estimated that such levels are present in about half of all Ohio homes.
“The challenge is that we can’t see, smell, or taste it, so it’s easy to forget that radon may be a problem in any home, school, or building,” said Dr. Acton.
Test your home every two years or after renovations, including the installation of windows, exterior doors, insulation, a roof, or a furnace or air conditioner.
If elevated levels are detected, it is important to act to protect yourself and your family. ODH also licenses radon mitigation contractors, who can be found here. Before hiring a contractor, use ODH’s locator, get more than one estimate, ask for references, and check with a reliable consumer group.
Richland County homeowners with household incomes less than $80,500 are eligible for free radon testing kits; others can order the kits for a discounted price of $10.95, which includes analysis. You could also have your home evaluated by a radon tester licensed by ODH to follow specific protocols.
The ODH Radon Education and Licensing Program is federally funded and works in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local health departments across Ohio.
Sources: Ohio Department of Health, Richland Public Health