What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is odorless, tasteless and invisible. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium which is found in nearly all soils and rock.

Why is Radon a Health Concern?
Radon travels through soil and enters homes or buildings through cracks and other openings in the foundation. Eventually it decays into radioactive particles that can become trapped in your lungs. As these particles in turn decay, they release small bursts of radiation, therefore damaging lung tissue. This damage may lead to lung cancer. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

How Can I Tell if My Home Has Elevated Radon Levels?
The only way to be sure is to have the indoor air tested for radon. Within Winona County, not every home has the same radon level. It is possible for one home to have elevated levels of radon, while a neighboring home does not. And newer homes are at risk for elevated radon levels as much as older homes.  The only way to know for sure if your home has elevated levels is to TEST.

How Do I Test for Radon in My Home?
Testing for Radon is easy and inexpensive. Depending on the detector, it takes a few days to several months. Short term detectors are used for quick results (placed out for 3 to 7 days), and Long term detectors are placed for 3 to 12 months for a more accurate picture of average radon levels in your home. 

Test kits are available at the Household Hazardous Waste building located at 225 West 2nd Street, Winona, MN (enter through the front, 2nd Street entrance).

For more information on Radon, visit the Minnesota Department of Health at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/index.html or the EPA at www.epa.gov.

Courtesy of: Lung Cancer Action Network