KDHE encourages Kansans to test for radon gas
TOPEKA – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) have proclaimed January “Kansas Radon Action Month” to help educate Kansans about the dangers of radon exposure and encourage actions to identify and address radon problems in the home.
Radon is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas found in nearly all soils which comes from the breakdown of uranium. Outdoors, radon is diluted to low concentrations, but once inside an enclosed space, radon can accumulate to significant levels.
Radon is the first leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause in smokers. Nationally, radon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
About one out 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. As many as one in 15 homes across the U.S. has elevated radon levels that often go undetected because of a lack of testing.
Inexpensive radon test kits are available year round at local hardware and builder’s supply stores and at your Kansas county extension office. The tests that reveal high levels can be fixed with reliable and effective radon reduction techniques completed by a certified radon professional. Homeowners should talk with a certified radon contractor if levels of 4 pCi/l or above are detected. The cities of Topeka, Manhattan, Lawrence, Salina and Junction City have building codes that require new homes to be built using radon-resistant techniques.
Additional information about radon and a list of certified radon contractors is available at www.kansasradonprogram.org. Additional information is also available by calling the Kansas Radon Hotline at 800-693-KDHE (800-693-5343).