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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) urges Wisconsin residents and business owners to test their homes and buildings for radon during National Radon Action Month.

Radon, a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer, is present in the ground and can enter buildings through their foundations. It is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the US. It causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year among non-smokers, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency and Surgeon General.

About one in 10 homes in Wisconsin have elevated radon levels, according to Paula Tran, State Health Officer.

“Reducing radon exposure and radon-induced lung cancer in Wisconsin depends on encouraging and supporting all Wisconsinites, including property owners and tenants, to be proactive about testing for radon,” Tran said.

radon action month
Most of Southeast Wisconsin sees more than 50% of home radon test results higher than the recommended limit. – Credit: Wisconsin DHS

Jessica Maloney, state radon program manager for DHS, added: “The only way to know if your house or apartment has elevated levels is to test.”

National Radon Action Month

Here are a few ideas that community members can do for National Radon Action Month.

Test your home

Reduced-cost test kits are available through Radon Information Centers (RIC) in Wisconsin, and test kit promotions are ongoing throughout January, the National Radon Action Month.

Learn about radon

National Radon Action Month is a great time to get informed about the dangers of radon. Download the facts here:

Fix your home

National Radon Action Month is a time for awareness and action.

This Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction can help you make decisions about how to best fix your home if radon is an issue.

Radon mitigation

If a test result is at four picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher, the US Environmental Protection Agency recommends installing a mitigation system to prevent the gas from entering the residence.

While the cost of mitigation can be a barrier for some families, Wisconsin residents can visit to find their RIC or speak with local public health department radon experts by calling 1-888-LOW-RADON to discuss available options. Test kits are also available from hardware stores and local public health agencies. Over 100 radon mitigation contractors in Wisconsin are nationally certified to install radon mitigation systems if elevated radon levels are found.

Both old and newer homes can be prone to radon, and apartments can also be at risk. Landlords are responsible for providing safe living conditions to their renters and should work with a certified radon testing and mitigation service to address the issue. Renters occupy about one-third of U.S. housing units.

Effective March 1, 2023, all licensed family child care and group child care centers in Wisconsin will be required to test for radon and mitigate if levels are at or above four pCi/L. Licensed day camps are not required to do so.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.