WITZ Radio News is an affiliate of Network Indiana
STATEWIDE -- State health leaders are urging Hoosiers to test their homes for radon.
January is National Radon Action Month, says state health commissioner Dr. Kris Box. Paul Krievins, who is an expert on radon with the Indiana State Department of Health, said radon is a gas that occurs naturally in the Indiana soil and can seep up into your home through cracks and crevasses in the foundation.
Krievins said radon can cause cancer if you are exposed to it for too long, especially for smokers.
"If you are exposed to radon for over a 15 to 20 year period, it increases you likelihood for stomach and lung cancer," Krievins said. "What Hoosiers are going to want to do is test their homes."
Krievins said it's impossible to have radon levels tested in the human body, but what you can do is get an in home testing kit, either from your local health department or for $10 to $15 dollars at a hardware store, such as Lowe's
ISDH and the American Lung Association are partnering to provide county health departments throughout Indiana with free radon test kits to distribute to individuals in their communities. A list of participating local health departments can be found on the ISDH website.
He also recommends you hire a certified contractor to put in a "radon mitigation system."
"That system runs a pipe under the foundation of the home, either under the crawlspace or basement," Krievins explained. "And it basically sucks the air our from under the home before it is able to make it into the living space and vents out the top of the house."
That could run you between $2,000 to $3,000 to install, which Krievins acknowledges is a little steep, but he said that investment is worth not getting cancer in the long run.