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The Health Department recommends getting your home tested for radon in conjunction with National Radon Action Month.
You can't smell, taste or see radon, but it can cause health problems. Radon is estimated to be 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 Environmental Health Specialist Andrew Stull.
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.
Stull said he recently moved into a new home in Lawrence and had it tested for radon. The radon level was 14.0 pCi/l, so the seller of the home installed a mitigation system for $750. The radon level was then found to be 1.0 pci/L.