Health Department offers free radon test kits


SIDNEY – January is National Radon Action Month, when Ohio residents are urged to test their homes for radon.

Soil in central Ohio can have high levels of radon gas. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and it can seep into homes. To help protect residents, the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department offers eligible homeowners free test kits. These easy-to-use home test kits are available at www.uchd.net/radon.

“Winter is the best time to test your home,” said Sidney-Shelby County Health Department Environmental Health Director Kent Topp. “During these colder months, our homes are closed up, trapping gases inside and providing more accurate radon readings.”

Radon gas results from the decay of naturally occurring uranium found in nearly all soils. Radon cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, making testing the only way to determine if it is in your home. Radon can leak into homes through cracks in foundations, openings around sump pumps and drains, construction joints and cracks in walls.

It is estimated that nearly one home in every 15 in the U.S. has an elevated radon level. Elevated levels have been found in all areas of the country, including central Ohio. Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L) and the EPA has identified 4 pCi/L as a recommended action level.

“Shelby County has been designated as a zone one area on the EPA’s radon map,” Dreiseidel said. “This means the EPA predicts that homes within our area could have high radon levels. Therefore, it is important all homeowners in our area test for radon gas.”

According to the University of Toledo’s Ohio Radon Information System, 1,138 Shelby County homes have been tested for radon. The maximum reading for Union County was 111.1 pCi/L, the minimum Union County reading was 0.1 pCi/L, with an average reading of 7.3 pCi/L.

If a home registers high levels of radon, it can be removed from the home through a variety of mitigation systems. According to the EPA, mitigation systems can cost between $600 and $1,200. More information on radon mitigation can be found at www. epa.gov/radon by clicking on the “Publications and Resources link” and viewing the EPA publication Consumer’s Guide to Radon.

Homeowners with a household income less than $80,500 can get a free test kit at www.uchd.net/radon. Simply complete a short online form and a free test kit will be mailed to the home within a few weeks. Test kits are also available for purchase at most hardware and home improvement stores.

Radon test kits are easy to use. Place the small, non-obtrusive test kit in the lowest living level of the home for three to seven days. Then, seal the kit and mail it to the certified laboratory for analysis. Confidential results are available online a few days later or can be mailed to the homeowner within approximately two weeks.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/radon.