Area health department encouraging radon tests for homes - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Area health department encouraging radon tests for homes

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The Eau Claire County Health Department is encouraging the community to get your home tested for radon. Radon is a gas that can be very dangerous to your health.

"You just can't go by what your neighbor did, or somebody you know did, you have to actually test yourself to know what levels you're at," said Valerie Reiter of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.

Radon is all around us; it's an element that's in the air we breathe every day. But too much of it can cause problems.

"It is the second leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking. It's something you're not going to see immediate effects from, its over a long term exposure," Reiter said.

Recent tests show that nearly 40 percent of all Eau Claire homes have levels that exceed EPA standards. Because you can't taste, smell, or see it, it's hard to know if your house is at risk.

"You have to have a special test or these test kits in order to know if it's at high levels in your home," said Reiter.

We asked area residents if they've ever had their home checked.

"At the house that I previously owned, I had it tested twice. I think it's a good idea. At the place I rent now, I am going to look into that, see if it has been tested previously," said one man.

"I've never had my home tested for radon, so yeah I have no idea what radon does. It's kind of scary," another man said.

A simple test can be bought at health departments, hardware stores, or online. Simply set the test in the lowest living area of your home for 48 hours. Then, following the instructions on your kit, send it in and wait for the results.

Radon comes from the ground around your home. If your test shows you have dangerously high levels of radon, there are some minor repairs that could end up saving a life.

"Filling cracks and crevices in your home if you have exposed dirt," Reiter said.

Radon levels can vary in your home from day to day, so there are both short term and long term tests available. The tests may be done at any time of the year.

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