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North Dakota offers free radon test kits during National Radon Action Month

Radon-related illness claims more than 21,000 lives annually.

Jane Kangas shows a radon test kit Dec. 18, 2017, in a state of North Dakota office in Fargo.
Jane Kangas shows a radon test kit Dec. 18, 2017, in a state of North Dakota office in Fargo.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

BISMARCK — During National Radon Action Month in January, the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality is offering free radon test kits.

Radon is a leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, and radon-related illness claims more than 21,000 lives in the United States annually.

In North Dakota, 6% of homes have an elevated radon level above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Action Level of 4.0 picocuries per liter.

The EPA lists North Dakota as Zone 1, meaning it has the highest potential for elevated radon levels. Due to the prevalence of radon, the EPA and Environmental Quality encourage North Dakotans to test their homes for radon and remedy any problems.

“Radon is a cancer-causing, naturally-occurring radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste, found throughout the soil in North Dakota,” said Justin Otto, radon program coordinator for Environmental Quality. While radon harmlessly disperses in outdoor air at low levels, when trapped in buildings, it can be harmful, especially at high concentrations.

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Otto said radon test kits are simple to use and come with easy-to-understand directions, adding that Environmental Quality is giving away 700 free radon test kits to North Dakota residents.

To receive a free radon test kit in the mail, visit www.deq.nd.gov/wm/radon . Once you are at the website, click on the button titled, “Click here for a free radon test kit,” then fill in the required information and click on the “Request Radon Test Kit” button.

Environmental Quality will mail requested test kits while supplies last. Test kits are also available at most local hardware stores, building supply stores and online.

"The good news is radon mitigation systems can manage high radon levels," Otto said, adding that by installing a mitigation system, homeowners can effectively lower the level of radon in their homes.

Visit deq.nd.gov/wm/radon to find a list of radon mitigation contractors, information on how to test for radon, what radon results mean, and how to address elevated radon levels.

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