Recent Radon Tests Show 1 in 5 Michigan Homes Exceed EPA Recommended Level

Recent radon gas testing conducted on Michigan homes has found that approximately one in five of over 3,700 residences tested exceeded EPA's recommended level of 4 picocuries per liter. The testing occurred in homes across the state in January in response to National Radon Action Month, the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced on March 27.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is found in soil and rock and dilutes when in the outdoor air. When radon leaks into a home through openings in the foundation floor or walls however it can accumulate to unhealthy levels and exposure over time increases one's risk of lung cancer. EPA estimates that radon is responsible for approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States, and reports in Michigan estimate that more than 600 new lung cancer cases could be attributable to indoor radon each year.

"The response to Radon Action Month was tremendous and we encourage those who have not tested their homes to do so this year," said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. "When elevated levels of radon are found action can be taken to reduce those levels and keep our families safe."

Test kits are available from local health departments all across the state. The cost generally ranges from $5 to $15, including postage and lab fees. Kits are also available from some home improvement centers and hardware stores, but not all retail kits include postage and analysis, so citizens are urged to carefully read the packaging before making their purchase.

To find out more about radon, visit the Department of Environmental Quality's Web site at http://www.michigan.gov/deqradon.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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