Florence agency encourages testing homes for radon levels

Sara Jerue, left, of the Florence County Health Department, provides Kay Bestor with a radon kit. Kits are available from the department for $10 or from most hardware stores at a modest cost, said Annette Seibold, county health officer.

FLORENCE, Wis. — Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas, found naturally in the soil. The gas can seep into homes through the foundation.

Exposure over time can be a cause of lung cancer. The only way to be sure of the amount of radon in your home is to conduct a test.

Lung and bronchus cancer rates in Florence County are 69 per 100,000 population, slightly above the state rate, said Annette Seibold, county health officer. Radon is still the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, although it often goes undetected.

Every home should be tested for radon and the winter months are ideal because doors and windows are kept closed so the test is more accurate. Kits are available from the Florence County Health Department for $10 or from most hardware stores at a modest cost.

The EPA standard of a safe level in the home is less than 4 picocuries per liter. The test is easy to do with a simple package that is mailed in for the results.

For more information, go to the Florence County Health Department website at http://www.florencecountywi.com/ or call the department at 715- 528-4837 or visit the state website at www.lowradon.org. or the EPA site at www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html.

The toll-free statewide phone number is 1-888-LOW RADON.

The Florence County Health Department is located on the first floor of the courthouse and is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, closed for lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m.

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