It's the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. What's even worse is that you may not even know you're being exposed. One in fifteen homes contain elevated levels of radon gas. That number is higher here in Central Wisconsin, making it even more important to test your homes.
The EPA recommends you test your home in winter. That's when levels are at their highest.
"What makes it ideal is we have our homes closed up and we're heating and as tight as any home tries to be, you're still loosing some heat and the home naturally tries to maintain an equilibrium which means it's pulling in gas," Marathon County Health Department's Dale Grosskurth told NewsChannel 7.
To test your home all you have to do is pick up a radon testing kit from your local health department or any hardware store. They usually cost around $8.00 and are very easy to use. Just place the test in a room in your home where you spend a lot of time. Let the test sit for several days then mail the kit to the lab in the pre-addressed envelope. You should receive your results in two to three weeks.
Readings under 4 Picocuries are considered safe. If your levels are above 4 Picocuries, you'll likely want to run a longer term test. If those results are also above 4 Picocuries, it may be time to consider radon mitigation.
"What is most commonly done is called sub slab depressurization. It's really a fancy term which means we put suction underneath the slab of the basement and that pulls radon gas up and exhausts it out of the house," Grosskurth explained.
If you're buying a house, new construction may have a slight advantage.
"They build it into the house as they're building the house so that at the end all you need to do is insert a fan, plug it in, turn on the switch and you're exhausting the radon," Grosskurth said.
If you would like more information about radon and what you can do to protect your family, you can call the Marathon County Health Department at (715) 261-1900. For a list of contractors in your area certified in radon mitigation, check out this link http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/radiation/radon/.