Health experts stress radon testing

Nearly 40 percent of homes in area test for radon

January marks National Radon Action Month across the country.

According to numbers from the La Crosse County Health Department, more households in our area have the dangerous gas than the statewide average.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is impossible to detect without proper testing.

The gas has been known to cause lung cancer and other diseases.

Area homeowners and health experts are warning you about the potential dangers that could be hidden in your household.

Town of Shelby resident Kimberly Lansing’s two kids live on the basement level of their home. She found out about Radon testing through a billboard on her way to work.

“We actually bought a kit at a hardware store and put it in the lower level of our house and it came back high,” Lansing said.

The Lansing’s basement had levels 50 percent higher than the health standard.

“My children were growing up with their bedrooms on this level of the house where they were being exposed to this radioactive gas continuously, and as a parent, I felt terrible that I was allowing my children to be raised in this environment,” Lansing said.

La Crosse County Health experts say radon is especially a problem in this area.

“The average in the state is about 33 percent, or one in three homes, and we fall just a little bit above that here,” registered sanitarian Nicole Frankfourth said.

The numbers show nearly 40 percent of area homes tested for elevated levels of radon. It’s why experts stress the importance of testing your home.

“We want you to test in the lowest livable area of your home, so if you have a finished basement in your home that you are actually using more than eight hours a week, we want you to test down there,” Frankfourth said. “Otherwise the first level of your home, whether that be a living room or a bedroom.”

Since they tested, the Lansing’s installed two different radon-mitigation systems in their home. Now with safe radon levels, they are encouraging others to test their home.

“I’m hoping we caught this in time so my children don’t have an increased risk of lung cancer when they’re older,” Lansing said. “I wish I hadn’t exposed my kids to that.”

The La Crosse County Health Department offers both short-term and long-term radon testing kits at their office for $10 per test.

Radon can also dissolve into water systems, which is why homeowners are warning that if anyone had high levels of radon in their home, they should also check their water systems, as well.