State offers free radon test kits

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Winter is a good time to test your home, Teton County Public Health Department response coordinator Rachael Wheeler said.

The Surgeon General advises, in a press release to NBC26, that exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and that radon combined with cigarette smoke poses an increased risk of lung cancer.

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"Radon is a naturally occurring gas and it's created by the uranium that you would find from the soil, so uranium is normally associated with mountains which is why some states like Colorado would be considered to have more radon", explained Colby Adams, who is the environmental health director for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's Division of Public Health. Testing for radon during the cooler months is highly recommended as many doors and windows remain closed, leaving limited space for the invisible gas to escape. The cost for a short term radon kit is $8 and is kept in your home for 2-4 days. "You can not see or smell radon".

Testing is the beginning of prevention, and if test results indicate elevated radon levels, there are other steps needed to reduce the risk of lung cancer. High levels of radon in homes, offices and schools can be hazardous to your health. The aggregated information from the test results will be used to update statewide Radon Potential Maps, which show the likelihood of radon in a specific region.

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Homes with radon levels of four (4) picocuries per Liter (4 pCi/L) or higher should be fixed.

Testing for radon is easy and low-priced. A radon testing kit can be purchased at most home or hardware stores. These tests provide a better idea of what you home's year-round average radon level is. Hiring such an individual will help to ensure that the mitigation is done properly and safely according to industry standards, and the level of radon in your home is reduced below the action level. If high levels of radon are detected, licensed contractors can install mitigation systems to eliminate the problem and protect you and your family. The state estimates that the service may cost $1,200 to $1,500.

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