Free radon testing kits available at Detroit Health Department

Radon is a radioactive gas that can seep through the cracks and gaps of your home without you even knowing. 

In light of Radon Action Month, the Detroit Health Department (DHD) is currently offering free radon testing kits to residents through the end of February. 

"Radon is odorless, it is tasteless, it is colorless," said Denise Fair Razo, the DHD chief public health officer.

Radon is naturally released from rocks, soil, and water, according to the CDC. While all outdoor and indoor air has some radon in it, the gas can infiltrate and accumulate in buildings via cracks in the foundation and get trapped inside – primarily in basements and lower levels.

"Over time, breathing in high levels of radon can cause lung cancer," the CDC states. "Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the United States after cigarette smoke."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that, each year, about 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. are caused by radon.

"Testing is the only way to learn whether your home has a high level of radon," according to DHD. "Testing is recommended every two to five years."


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Detroit residents can go to the third floor of the DHD building on Mack Ave. for radon testing kids Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The test kit is simple to set up and use.

"Hang it in your basement or lowest level of your home for three to seven days," said Paul Barry, DHD's environmental health specialist. "Make sure you clearly mark the date you start and end. Remove the cardboard, seal the envelope, take it to the post office or UPS, and mail it in."

City officials say results should be available in three to five days. If test results show radon levels at or above 4, it is recommended that you install a radon mitigation system.

"Throughout the state of Michigan we know that one in four homes have tested high for radon," Razo said. "And we know in Detroit that’s relatively similar."

Detroit has a low radon testing rate; DHD hopes that by making test kits available at no cost, it will increase awareness and testing.

"We need to do our part to make sure that Detroiters know that radon could be in their home, and they have to protect themselves," Razo added.