Thousands of homes in southeast Wisconsin have elevated levels of radon, a radioactive gas known to cause lung cancer. Waukesha County health officials are encouraging homeowners to protect themselves against this common health risk during National Radon Action Month in January by offering affordable radon test kits and other mitigation resources to residents.
“It takes just $10 and a simple radon test to know whether your home is safe,” stated Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow. “Test kits are available either through the County or at your local hardware store. Even if you do have an issue, mitigating radon concerns are relatively easy and inexpensive and have huge impacts on residents’ health.”
Radon is an odorless radioactive gas that is naturally present in the ground and can enter buildings through their foundations. Both old and newer homes can be susceptible to radon. Between 40 and 50 percent of homes tested in Southeast Wisconsin have elevated airborne concentrations on the main living level where people spend the most time, according to state data. An estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused by radon annually among non-smokers, according to reports by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Surgeon General.
Thousands of radon mitigation systems are installed in existing homes in Southeast Wisconsin each year. There are more than 90 nationally certified radon mitigation contractors in Wisconsin, and more than 30 of those contractors are in Southeast Wisconsin. New construction should include features recommended by the National Association of Home Builders to reduce radon entry.
For information about radon in Wisconsin, visit: www.lowradon.org
About the Environmental Health Division
The Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use – Environmental Health Division serves as The Southeastern Wisconsin Radon Information Center on behalf of Waukesha, Racine, and Milwaukee Counties. Radon test kits are available through many local home supply stores, through the Department by calling 262-896-8300, or your local public health agency. For more information on radon testing, visit: https://www.waukeshacounty.gov/landandparks/environmental-health/radon/radon-testing/