Dept of Health & Human Services (DHHS)

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Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless radioactive gas that causes lung cancer. Walworth County is estimated to be in the area where the chance of high radon in a home is elevated. Every home with ground contact should be tested, because homes with elevated radon have been found in virtually every zip code in Wisconsin.

How Radon Enters a Home

Most of the public's exposure to natural radiation comes from radon which can be found in homes, schools, and office buildings. The illustration at right shows the sources of radon that can accumulate in buildings. Most radon in homes comes from radon in the soil that seeps into homes through cracks in the foundation or slab. The amount of radon in the soil varies widely and depends on the chemical make up of the soil. There can be a large difference in radon concentrations in the soil from house to house. The only way to know is to test. (Source EPA.gov, Radiation Protection, Radon)

Health Effects of Radon

Over time, exposure to radon may lead to lung cancer.  Radon is attributed with roughly 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually. Click the picture below for more information about the health effects of radon.

Obtaining a Test Kit

The only way to know the radon level in a house is to measure it. You can get Radon test kits in hardware stores or from Walworth County Public Health. Short-term test kits are available for $10.00, and long-term test kids for $20.00. Kits sold by Walworth County include shipping and laboratory analysis in the $10.00 cost.

How to test

Step 1: Before starting the test keep the house closed for 12 hours. Continue to keep the house in closed conditions during the duration of the test. Keep all exterior doors closed except for normal entry and exit. Keep all windows closed. Leave radon mitigation systems operating. Do not operate wood or coal stoves (unless they are the primary source of heat).

Step 2: Select the test area. This should be a room on the lowest level of the house that is regularly used, such as a living room, bedroom, or family room. Do not use a kitchen or bathroom, or any room with high humidity. Do not test in crawl spaces. See the diagram below for tips on where to place your radon test device.

Step 3: Preform the test following test device instructions and fill in any data required by the analyzing laboratory on the accompanying paperwork. Ship your kit to the laboratory following instructions included in the packaging.

Mitigation

Radon can be controlled in any house.

Radon Information Center

Walworth County is part of the Kenosha-Walworth Radon Information Center.  Additional information about radon may be obtained by contacting Brad Wozniak at (262) 605-6746 or emailing brad.wozniak@kenoshacounty.org.

Resources

Radiation and Your Home (CDC)

EPA Radon Home Page

Lung Cancer and Radon

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Radon Information Page

 
 

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