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Barry-Eaton District Health Dept. offering free radon kits to residents

Sample of a radon test kit
Kent County Health Department
A radon test kit.

January is Radon Action Month in Michigan and state health officials are encouraging people to test their homes for high radon levels.

Radon is a heavy, radioactive gas that can seep out of the soil into basements and other parts of a house.

In many homes across Michigan, radon is present at worrisome levels. The state says more than a quarter of tests conducted in Michigan returned results above recommended action levels.

Emily Smale, the public information officer at the Barry-Eaton District Health Department, says exposure to the gas is a leading cause of lung cancer.

"Radon is a naturally occurring gas, it comes down from breakdown of radium in the earth. And over time, it can come up through the cracks and in the foundation of the floors in our homes or walls," she said. "And so over time, it can get concentrated in our basements or other rooms of the house."

Smale says they are offering area residents free radon tests over the next month.

“A lot of people are spending more time at home, especially around the holidays, a lot of people spending time inside. So we want to make sure that we're testing for radon because we can't see it, smell it, or taste it," she explained. "The only way you can detect it is through testing.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends houses with radon levels at, or above, 4 pCi/L (picocurries per liter) have a radon mitigation system installed.

Kits are available for pick up at the health department office for residents of Barry and Eaton counties. They are available on a first come, first served basis.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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