MADISON (WKOW) -- from WI Dept. of Health Services: Noting that January is National Radon Action Month, state health officials Monday pointed out the value of testing your home for radon and controlling it if it is detected.
"Radon testing is a small investment that can pay big dividends for homeowners," said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. "A home radon test kit is inexpensive, and many hardware stores and local public health agencies have inexpensive radon test kits for sale, including laboratory analysis in the price."
Radon is an odorless, radioactive gas that is naturally present in the ground and enters houses through their foundations.
Breathing radon for extended times increases the risk of lung cancer.
Since radon is widespread and concentrations vary greatly from home to home, every home having contact with the ground should be tested.
If your home's radon level is elevated, the risk of lung cancer and potential for loss of a loved one can be serious.
However a home's radon level can be substantially reduced.
The cost for reducing radon in your home is around $1,000, and the investment could make a home easier to sell.
"Professional radon control buys peace of mind not only for the homeowner, but also for would-be buyers," Anderson said.
More than 50 radon mitigation contractors in Wisconsin are nationally certified and install highly-effective systems.
Thousands of systems are installed in existing homes in Wisconsin each year.
When having a new home built, features that reduce radon entry can be included for little added cost.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and is responsible for several thousand preventable lung cancer deaths each year.
State statistics indicate that between five and ten percent of the homes in Wisconsin have elevated airborne concentrations of radon in significantly-occupied spaces.