County officials urge homeowners to test for radon

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published January 13, 2016

 Oakland and Macomb counties are offering radon test kits at a discount this month.

Oakland and Macomb counties are offering radon test kits at a discount this month.

Photo provided by the Oakland County Health Department

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METRO DETROIT — A simple test, available at a discount from local county health divisions this month, can assure residents that their homes are free of a potentially harmful gas.

Radon, a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless gas that is usually harmless outdoors, can be a health hazard when trapped in a building or home, according to health officials. 

“Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and is the second-leading cause of cancer overall, and it can be preventable,” said Tony Drautz, administrator of the Oakland County Health Department’s Environmental Health Services. 

During January, which is National Radon Action Month, the Oakland County Health Department is offering radon test kits at half price, for $5, while the Macomb County Health Department is giving the kits to residents for free while supplies last.

Oakland County health officials said there is “moderate potential” for elevated radon levels in Oakland County homes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

William Ridella, director of the Macomb County Health Department, said that anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of the homes in Macomb County will have an elevated radon level when tested. 

“That is what we’ve found over the years from the ones that we’ve tested,” he said.

The good news is the cold winter months are a great time to test a home for radon.

“This is really the best time of the year to test, because you want your homes closed and sealed so that you can get an accurate result,” Ridella explained.

“And if you find out if your home may have higher levels of radon, there are things that you can do to remediate the problem and exhaust the gas so that it doesn’t become a problem in your home,” Drautz said.

In Oakland County, the kits are available at health division offices at the North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34E, in Pontiac; and at the South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road in Southfield. If high levels of radon are found, homeowners are urged to contact the Oakland County Health Department’s Environmental Health Services.

In Macomb County, residents can obtain free radon test kits from the Southwest Health Center, 27690 Van Dyke Ave. in Warren, and from the Central Health Center, 43525 Elizabeth Road in Mount Clemens. If high levels of radon are found, homeowners are urged to contact the Macomb County Health Department’s Environmental Health Services.

In Wayne County, residents can pick up radon testing kits at no charge by visiting the Wayne County Health Administration Building, 33030 Van Born Road in Wayne, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Visitors should enter the east wing of the building. 

“We are offering free testing kits because the only way to know whether your home has elevated radon levels is to test for it,” Dr. Mouhanad Hammami, director of the Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness, said in a statement.

For more information about radon, visit www.michigan.gov/deqradon or contact your local county health department’s environmental health division. Oakland County homeowners can contact the Oakland County Health Department’s Environmental Health Services at (248) 858-1312 in Pontiac or (248) 424-7191 in Southfield. Macomb County residents can call the Macomb County Health Department at (586) 469-5236 in Mount Clemens or (586) 465-8030 in Warren. Wayne county residents can call (734) 727-7400.

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