Walworth County agency recommends testing homes for radon

by Jared Lewis January 11, 2017, 0:30

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is actually the largest cause of lung cancer in non-smokers throughout the United States. Visit the Minnesota Department of Health website to learn more about radon, find more locations for test kits, or to order one online. Testing is the only way to determine whether radon is present and at what level.

Tests of residential basements in New York State found elevated radon levels in about 37% of the homes. Dissolved radon can occur naturally in groundwater and may be aerosolized into the air of a home when running faucets or showers, or even the dishwasher or washing machine. "The house acts like a vacuum cleaner on top of the soil, sucking sub-slab soil air containing radon into the building through foundation cracks, underground pipes, and other openings due to pressure differences between the dwelling and outdoor air". About half of the homes in Goodhue County have high levels of radon gas.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports Walworth County as a high-risk area for radon, according to the release.

"Your home may have high radon and meanwhile your neighbor's house is fine", Janis Ellefsen, health officer for the county's Division of Public Health, said in the release.

You can test your home in about a week's time. Goodhue County Health & Human Services has test kits available for $10. Radon testing kits for air and well water may be obtained from the Department's Laboratory located on the ground floor of Town Hall during laboratory hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.to 3 p.m. If high levels are detected, licensed professionals can install systems to mitigate the problem. Because radon can not be seen and has no odor, people tend to downplay the health effects and ignore the possibility that there might be a silent killer in their homes.

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