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The Health Department recommends getting your home tested for radon this month in conjunction with National Radon Awareness Month.
You can't smell, taste or see radon, but it can cause health problems. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
Radon forms naturally when uranium, radium and thorium break down in rocks, soil and groundwater. People can be exposed to radon primarily from breathing radon in air that comes through cracks and gaps in buildings and homes.
“Radon is a serious health risk, and it can be reduced easily and cost-effectively,” said Director of Epidemiology and Environmental Public Health Mary Beverly.
The average radon level tested in Douglas County is 4.61 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/l), which is above the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended action level of 4.0 pCI/l.
Home radon testing is the only way to determine exposure. According to the EPA, testing should be done every two years. Test kits are available at K-State Research and Extension - Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. in Lawrence, for $5.50. They also can be found in many discount and home stores.