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DEQ Urges Homeowners to Test for Radon

January is Radon Awareness Month, and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is urging Montanans to protect their health by testing their homes for radon gas.

Radon is an invisible, odorless gas that occurs naturally from the decay of uranium and radium in many Montana soils and can accumulate inside homes. Studies indicate elevated levels of the gas are the second leading cause of lung cancer overall. Nationally, more than 22,000 people each year die from lung cancer linked to exposure to radon.

In Montana, historic radon testing shows that radon gas is present in varying levels in homes throughout the state. The amount of radon depends largely on the underlying geology of the area. Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies 4.0 pCi/L as the "action level" for radon.

State Rep. Mike Shirkey, DEQ Hosting Radon Awareness Events

State Rep. Mike Shirkey, DEQ Hosting Radon Awareness Events

There are nine counties in the state with elevated indoor radon levels and Jackson County is one of them.

As a result, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and state Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake, are hosting two radon awareness town hall events in an effort to educate residents on the dangers of elevated levels.

The first town hall meeting runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, at the Super 8 in Brooklyn, 419 S. Main St. The second meeting runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Blackman Charter Township Hall, 1990 W. Parnall Road.

Radon is a Class A carcinogen, meaning it has been known to cause cancer in humans. It is an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas that originates from natural uranium found in soil and rock.

"Radon can't be seen or smelled, so it's important to take the necessary steps to find out if elevated levels exist in your home,” Shirkey said.