High radon levels dangerous

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COEUR d’ALENE — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare began monitoring radon test results over 20 years ago. Since then, IDHW has discovered nearly 40 percent of Idaho homes tested for radon have higher than recommended levels of the naturally occurring radioactive gas. High radon levels have been found in homes in every Idaho county.

“The good news is that it is easy and inexpensive for Idaho homeowners to test their home for radon levels,” said Colby Adams, environmental health director for IDHW’s Division of Public Health. “Because winter is the best time to test, January is national Radon Action Month. Radon test kits are just $9.95, so Idaho homeowners can find out if their home has high radon levels and take steps to fix a problem to protect themselves and their family.”

Radon is an invisible radioactive gas formed from natural deposits of uranium and radium in Idaho soils. Radon is drawn into homes and buildings through gaps and cracks in crawlspaces and foundations. High levels of radon in your home can expose you and your family to radiation. This radiation can damage your lungs and increase your risk of developing lung cancer.

Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon causes 21,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

The only way to know if your home has high levels of radon is to test for it. Testing is easy, requiring opening a package and placing a small measuring device in your home for several days. The kit is then mailed to a lab for processing with results returned to the homeowner. Visit www.radonidaho.org to order a radon test kit with simple instructions for $9.95. The cost for the test covers shipping, handling, and test results. You can also call the Idaho CareLine at 2-1-1 for more information.

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