JANUARY IS NATIONAL  RADON ACTION MONTH Licking County historically has the highest radon levels in Ohio. Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless gas that is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air; but when trapped in buildings, can be harmful at elevated levels. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has determined that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., second to smoking. However, because you can’t see or smell radon, people tend to minimize the health effects and ignore the possibility it might exist in elevated levels in their homes. Testing is the only way to know if radon exists in your home.

January is National Radon Action Month and the Licking County Health Department (LCHD) offers free radon test kits. Visit LCHD’s website at www.LickingCoHealth.org and follow the easy prompts to the online registration form to receive a free test kit by mail. Or, you may call LCHD at (740) 349-6535 for help ordering a free radon test kit.

Radon test results performed by Licking County homeowners indicated nearly three out of four homes have radon levels above the EPA action level of 4.0 pCi/L. For this reason, LCHD has obtained a federal matching grant to provide radon education and free test kits to county residents. The grant, through The Ohio Department of Health, also serves Morrow, Knox, Delaware, Fairfield, Perry, Muskingum, Coshocton, Holmes, Tuscarawas, Guernsey, Stark, Carroll, Harrison, Belmont, Jefferson, and Columbiana counties. These counties are predicted to have an average indoor radon level of more than 4 pCi/L.

LCHD actively participates in in National Radon Action Month (NRAM). NRAM is in January, and each year the Licking County Health Department hosts numerous media campaigns and activities to raise awareness about radon and promote the availability of free radon test kits to Ohio homeowners. The goal of these efforts is to raise awareness about the dangers of elevated radon levels, as well as encourage homeowners to take advantage of the free radon test kits available to them.

LCHD also conducts outreach activities aimed towards minorities at risk for health disparities, low-income homeowners, or persons with disabilities. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that individuals with low income rates and low educational attainment are more likely to be at risk of suffering from low health outcomes. LCHD conducts activities that typically include presentations for families served by the Early Head Start program, presentations for any agency that serves minorities at risk for health disparities, persons with disabilities, or low-income homeowners, and an exhibit at a health fair where the target population frequents.

If high levels of radon are found after testing, fix your home by finding a qualified radon service professional to install a mitigation system. A quality radon mitigation system if often able to reduce the annual average radon level to below 2 picoCuries per Liter (2pCi/L) of air. Find a list of licensed radon contractors on LCHD’s website under “Radon.”

Protect your health and test your home for radon. Find more information about radon and order your free radon test kit at LickingCoHealth.org