Greene County Medical Center's public health department was awarded a grant for 50 radon kits through the Iowa Cancer Consortium. The kits will be made available free of charge on a first request basis through public health.
According to the Iowa Cancer Consortium, radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally during the decay of thorium and uranium elements found in rock, soil and water. It cannot be seen, smelled or tasted.
Radon can find its way into the home via cracks in floors and walls, floor drains, sump pumps and construction joints. Radon then enters the lungs by inhaling air contaminated with it. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States among nonsmokers.
The only way to know if radon is in your home is to test for it. If a high level of radon is present, reducing it requires repairing or altering the access points. A common method of reduction includes pulling air from under the foundation and re-routing it outside into the air.
Radon exposure was identified for inclusion in the 2016 Greene County Community Needs Assessment/Health Improvement Plan. Public Health is working with local primary care providers to educate the public during clinic encounters and community events.
Becky Wolf, public health director, stated, "We anticipate the 50 kits will go quickly, so we encourage all Greene County residents to test for radon by purchasing a radon kit, if necessary." Wolf noted that kits can be purchased anytime for less than $15.
Greene County residents interested in a free radon kit should call public health at 386-3228, or Greene County Environmental Health at 386-5669.
The Greene County Board of Supervisors declared January as Radon Awareness Month. At a recent Supervisor meeting, Public Health RN Laine Custer presented radon kits to Greene County Environmental Health Director Chuck Wenthold. Pictured here, left to right: supervisors Dawn Rudolph, Tom Contner, Guy Richardson and Mick Burkett, Custer, Wenthold, Chief Nurse Executive Katie Heldt and Public Health Director Becky Wolf.