HANCOCK, Mich. (WJMN) – Test kits are available year round at the Western UP Health Department but winter is the best time to test for radon according to WUPHD.

The gas is naturally occurring and radioactive. It cannot be seen, smelled or tasted and no short-term side affects can warn of it’s presence. After smoking, Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is considered a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

Elevated Radon levels can be seen in all 83 Michigan Counties. In Western Upper Peninsula counties, the WUPHD says 5% to 12% of homes have elevated radon levels with the highest levels in Gogebic and Houghton County. If the level is at or aboce 4 pCi/L, the WUPHD recommends lowering the level. They say they’ve seen levels upward of 36 pCi/L in some area homes. With more residents staying home due to COVID-19, WUPHD encourages testing.

Free radon kits can be acquired at WUPHD offices in Hancock, Bessemer, Ontonagon or L’anse. The kit should be hung in the lowest living area of your home for three to seven days, then mailed to the lab for analysis. Testing results will include the level of radon gas in your home. The WUPHD can help interpret results and give advice on lowering radon levels in your home.

Test kits can also be obtained by visiting the health department’s website. WUPHD also encourages local builders to learn more about radon and radon resistant construction techniques to protect their customers. More information can be found at Michigan.gov/radon or call EGLE’s Indoor Radon hotline at 800-723-6642.