Health department urges radon test

Staff report

SIDNEY — In January, more than 30 county health departments in Ohio have launched a joint public health campaign for National Radon Action Month.

The goal of the campaign is to urge Ohioans to test for radon in their homes with a free test kit.

“Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and has been found in many Ohio homes,” said Kent L. Topp, director of environmental health for the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department. “The public health agencies of this state have come together to form a singular message informing all Ohioans of the threat of radon.”

The campaign will help citizens visualize radon, which is an invisible gas, as a burglar breaking into Ohio homes.

“The significance of the burglar is that he is there to steal something important from you and your loved ones — your health,” Topp said.

Topp said health departments will be placing ads on social media, audio and video streaming services, billboards and in newspapers. This broad approach helps reach as many Ohioans as possible during National Radon Action Month.

“According to the EPA, central Ohio is at risk for high levels of radon in the soil,” Topp said. “It makes it incredibly important to show people that their health could be at risk.”

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas found in nearly all soils. Radon cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. This makes testing the only way to determine if the deadly gas is in a home. Radon leaks into homes through cracks in the foundation, openings around sump pumps and drains, construction joints, and cracks in walls.

If a high level of radon is found in a home, the next step is to remove it by putting in a radon mitigation system. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mitigation systems can cost between $600 and $1,200.

To order a free test kit, visit To learn more about radon, visit

Staff report