Protect Your Health: Test Your House For Radon

Monday, January 8, 2018 - 8:33am

In recognition of National Radon Action Month, Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) urges all residents to test their homes for radon. You can’t see, smell, or taste radon, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home.  Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, radioactive gas that develops in the soil.  It is the second leading cause of lung cancer and causes over 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.  
Radon is normally dispersed in outdoor air, but can reach harmful levels when it enters buildings though cracks in foundations, particularly in the winter months when homes and other buildings are closed up and heated.  According to Clint Marshall, Public Health Radon Specialist, it is estimated that 1 in 5 homes in Dane County have high levels of radon.   Testing your home is the only way to find out if you have a radon problem. 

It is recommended that all homes get tested for radon.  “Testing for radon is simple and inexpensive,” said Marshall.  “Test kits can be purchased at local hardware or home product stores, usually for under $25.   PHMDC also has test kits for sale at $10 per kit.”

Testing should be done in the lowest lived in level of your home.  After leaving the opened kit in the room for the recommended amount of monitoring time, all you need to do is to send it to the laboratory for analysis. The lab will send you results within two or three weeks.

If testing shows that you do have a radon problem, to protect yourself and your family, you will need to install a system that will prevent the radon from accumulating in your home. Such systems should be installed by a certified mitigation contractor. The cost of a radon mitigation system can vary, but typically runs around $1,200.

To purchase a test kit or to speak with the Public Health Radon Specialist, call the South Central Wisconsin Radon Information Center at (608) 243-0392.
For more information regarding radon, including a list of qualified radon remediation contractors, visit the Wisconsin Radon Information Center Web site at:

Health & Safety