Radon test results

Test results from 2001-19 show nearly 50 percent of homes in the 53558 ZIP code have unsafe levels of radon.

The McFarland Lions Club is again partnering with Public Health Madison & Dane County to increase public awareness about the risks of radon and to disseminate radon test kits on Friday, Jan. 24, and Saturday, Jan. 25.

Kits will be sold at McFarland Pick ‘n Save from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. They will also be sold at the E.D. Locke Public Library from 3-5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25.

A similar campaign was conducted in January 2017 when 329 test kits were sold by the Lions.

The cost of the kits remains at $10 and includes the lab processing fee. This low price represents a $20-$30 savings when compared to purchasing the kits from other sources and paying separately for analytical services.

Many people correctly believe that smoking is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer, but many are not familiar with the No. 2 cause – naturally occurring radon gas.

Radon gas is generated from unevenly distributed and generally small amounts of uranium that are present in the soil. Radon gas is one of the unwanted byproducts when uranium starts breaking down in soil, rock or water.

If a house is built on soil that contains some uranium, this radioactive gas can seep through cracks, sump pumps and other openings in basement floors and walls.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the U.S. About 2,900 of these radon associated deaths occur among people who have never smoked.

Smokers who live in homes with elevated radon levels face a compounding risk of contracting lung cancer.

The bad news comes in three forms:

– Nearly 50 percent of the homes tested in southern Wisconsin, including McFarland, have levels of radon that are considered unsafe. Radon levels in southern Wisconsin are among the highest in the state.

– Relatively few homes have been tested for radon. Thus, the residents can’t know whether they are being exposed to this cancer-causing agent. It can take years for lung cancer to manifest itself after exposure to radon.

– Wisconsin does not have regulations that require testing for radon.

The good news is that these problems have solutions.

Radon can only be detected through testing.

Fixing problems could involve sealing the foundation and piping or by having a certified contractor install a soil depressurization system.

EPA recommends retesting homes every two years, because conditions can change that allow radon exposure levels to increase (e.g., new cracks in foundations, shifting of soil, insulation efforts that tighten basements and houses).

Call Lions Ron Allen at 698-6105 or Bruce Voight 572-9173 for more information.

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