State health officials urge Kansans to test for radon in homes
Lawrence Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. For nonsmokers, it is the first.
January is Kansas Radon Action Month, aimed at educating Kansans about the dangers of radon exposure.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is released from the decay of uranium in the soil. When radon enters homes it accumulates and can cause serious health problems such as an increased risk of lung cancer.
“Kansans should test their homes, address any elevated radon levels and use radon-resistant construction techniques when building new homes,” said Robert Moser, secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
About one of every three radon measurements performed in Kansas are elevated, being above 4 pCi/l (picoCuries per liter). Some areas have higher levels than others, though elevated levels of radon have been detected in every county in the state.
In Douglas County, one out of every three homes tested for radon were higher than the EPA limit, said Richard Ziesenis, director of Environmental Health at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.
“This is approximately 500 homes out of 1,500 homes tested, so it is clear that we do have high levels of radon in Douglas County and it is highly recommended that all Douglas County homes be tested,” he said.
Inexpensive radon test kits — available at local hardware and builder’s supply stores and at your county extension office — can reveal the amount of radon in any building. The kits cost $5 and are easy to use. For more information about purchasing a kit, call 785-843-7058.
Homes with high levels of radon can usually be fixed with simple and affordable venting techniques. Homeowners should talk with a certified radon contractor if levels above 4 pCi/l are detected.
A list of certified radon contractors is available by calling the Kansas Radon Hotline at 800-693-5343.
— Karrey Britt works for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.