HANCOCK - January is Radon Action Month and there are a few things people should know to keep themselves safe from this cancer-causing gas.
Throughout the month, health agencies across the country will be working together to promote awareness of radon. The American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute treat radon is a national health problem and encourage people to have radon testing done.
Western Upper Peninsula Health Department Environmental Health Sanitarian Glen Anderson said the gas is a byproduct of uranium that concentrates in certain areas.
January is Radon Action Month and health department across the region are encouraging homeowners to check their houses for the presence of the cancer-causing gas. Test kits, like the ones shown above and at left at the Marquette County Health Department, are available from many departments in the Upper Peninsula. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"You'll never know it's there," Anderson said. "If you have radon and smoke (tobacco), it can actually make it worse."
Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas and about one in 15 homes contains high levels of radon.
To combat this, the WUPHD offers free radon testing kits.
"We offer a snapshot test. It's just a little envelope and there's material in it that catches it," Anderson said.
Area residents can pick up the free test kit at the health department.
Anderson also said it's difficult to tell which houses may be affected.
"If your neighbor has it, you might want to test it," Anderson said.
Radon is not isolated to certain geographical areas or homes. According to a press release from the Cancer Prevention Centers, radon has been detected in every county in the United States.
For more information about radon, contact the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department at 482-7382.