Casper-Natrona County Health Department offering free radon test kits

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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - January is National Radon Action Month.

A radon test kit available for free at Casper-Natrona County Health Department. Photo taken in Casper, Wyo. on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020.

Radon is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas found all over. Prolonged exposure over many years to high levels can be dangerous and potentially cause lung cancer.

It comes from the breakdown of uranium.

“It is radioactive and so when we're breathing it in, it can damage our lungs and it often times is found in the air or in the water,” Casper-Natrona County Health Department’s Grace Niemitalo said.

She is also the Wyoming Cancer Resource Center Region II Coordinator.

“It’s the second leading cause of lung cancer. It’s the first if you’re not a smoker,” Alpha Radon Mitigation owner Eric Johnson said.

It’s important to test homes and offices using the lowest living or work space.

Niemitalo said 0-2 picocuries per liter is considered low risk, 2-4 picocuries per liter is considered moderate risk and anything above four picocuries per liter is considered high risk.

If the building’s radon level is at high risk, then a mitigation system needs to be installed.

“We'll route pipe up to the outside or to the attic. And in the attic or on the outside of the house, we'll place a fan that creates a suction and pulls all those soil gases from underneath the concrete slab of the basement,” Johnson said. “It pulls and removes it and pushes it above the roofline of your house and dilutes it out into the air.”

He said he usually sees higher radon levels during winter.