What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is odorless and radioactive. Elevated levels of radon are found in 5-10% of homes in Wisconsin. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, with smoking causing 90% of lung cancer cases. In 2012 the CDC reported 210,828 people were diagnosed with lung cancer, about 20,000 cases were caused by elevated radon levels.
Radon enters homes through the soil found under your house. Radon seeps into homes through dirt floors, floor drains, cinder block walls, sump holes, and cracks in foundations. Old, new, drafty, and well-sealed houses can all have elevated levels of radon. Homes without a basement can have elevated levels of radon on the main living floor. New homes can be built with specific techniques to decrease the risk of elevated radon levels.
Testing for Radon
You can test for radon in your home. Do it yourself test kits are available from Sawyer County Public Health. You should test for radon on the lowest level of your home over at least two days. Radon is elevated when it is above 4 pCi/L. The average radon level found in homes in WI is 1.8 pCI/L, which is considered acceptable. You can also have a professional test the radon level in your home. In Hayward, out of 279 homes tests, 26.88% had a radon level above 4 pCi/L.
If radon is found at elevated levels, mitigations options might include sealing your lowest level, depressurizing the soil under your home (a professional contractor is recommended), or installing a radon mitigation system.