January is National Radon Action Month and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality is offering free radon test kits for Montanans to test radon levels in their homes.
Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can build up in homes over time. Long-term exposure to radon can lead to a risk of lung cancer. Testing is the only way to know whether there is a radon problem in a home and the winter months are the best time to test because radon levels are typically at their highest. This is because there is typically less ventilation from doors and windows during winter.
“It’s very easy for radon problems to go unnoticed because the harmful health effects are based on long-term exposure,” explained Dan Lloyd, DEQ’s energy bureau chief. “We encourage Montanans to test for radon especially since the geology of the state can lead to elevated levels.”
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Radon is caused by the breakdown, or decay, of uranium in soil, rock and water. Radon gas can enter homes through miniscule cracks in the floor or small spaces around utility pipes and can accumulate unless properly