The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is providing free radon test kits for National Radon Action Month.
The at-home test kits are available to county residents while supplies last from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at KCHD’s main clinic at 700 Fuller Ave. NE in Grand Rapids. The health department recommends all homes be tested for the radioactive gas every few years.
Radon is a colorless, odorless and deadly gas. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., next to smoking, and claims the lives of more than 20,000 Americans every year, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.
“Testing for radon is an easy and important step in protecting the health of your family,” said Rusty Flewilling, supervising sanitarian with the Kent County Health Department. “The kit is easy to use. Simply hang a filter inside your house for a few days, then send it in a self-addressed, pre-stamped envelope for testing.”
Test results will be sent to residents and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Test result information can be helpful when deciding on how to best pursue remediation and is helpful to the state when attempting to gain a better understanding of the prevalence of radon in Michigan. Those seeking help in understanding their radon test results can contact the KCHD Environmental Health Division by calling (616) 632-6900.
According to the health department, radon occurs naturally in the ground and seeps into buildings through cracks or openings in the foundation of floors and walls and can occur in new and old homes. Kent County often has been categorized as having moderate to high radon levels, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Geological Survey risk zone map.
KCHD’s podcast, “A Matter of Public Health,” has two episodes offering education about the issue. The first episode explains what radon is, how prevalent it is in Michigan and how often testing should be done in homes. Episode two offers tips on how to get rid of radon, how to select a contractor and how to avoid getting “ripped off” by unscrupulous contractors.
More information about radon is on the KCHD website.