Nearly one in eight Michigan homes has an elevated
radon level, and in some counties, more than 40 percent of the
homes could have problems. While both Huron and Tuscola counties
both have a low potential (a predicted average indoor radon
screening level less than 2 pCi/L) for elevated radon levels, it
is still advised that homes get tested at least every two
Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless radioactive
gas that can accumulate in a home and cause cancer. The primary
source of radon usually comes from surrounding soil entering
through openings in a home’s foundation, floor and lower
basement wall openings. Sump openings, other penetrations caused
by plumbing, wiring and duct work not properly sealed may allow
radon into a home. Exposure over time can increase a person’s
risk of lung cancer.
Radon gas in not isolated to certain geographical
areas or home types. Radon problems have been detected in homes in
every county of the United States, and caused more American
fatalities in 2014 than carbon monoxide, fires and handguns
Tip MacGuire, environmental health director for
Huron and Tuscola counties, said every home should be adequately
tested — especially because no two homes are alike.
“It varies depending on the ground, because it is
coming out of the ground itself,” MacGuire said. “It’s
something you should test for and something you can test for.”
Both the Huron County and Tuscola County Health
departments offer free kits to county residents through the month
Testing in the winter is
encouraged, when the home is sealed up. MacGuire said that tests
are pretty easy to administer, with detailed
instructions included in each kit.
To administer a test, a homeowner will basically set
the test kit it on something about table level off the ground in
the lowest level of the home. Usually this occurs in a basement. A
test takes 3-to-7 days to complete, then it is sealed up and
dropped in the mail.
“It’s rather simple to do,” MacGuire said.
In the event there is an elevated radon level
detected, MacGuire indicated in many cases, it is easy to correct.
Something simply as caulking cracks in the basement wall or
sealing the sump pump cover down can make a home safe again.
“There are things you can do to minimize
levels,” MacGuire said.
For those interested in obtaining a radon test kit
from either Huron or Tuscola counties, go to the health department
in the county you live in and visit its Environmental Health
The Huron County Health Department is located at
1142 S. Van Dyke Road, Bad Axe, and can be reached at
989-269-9721. The Tuscola County Health Department is located at
1309 Cleaver Road, Caro, and can be reached at 989-673-8114.
Seth Stapleton • 989-269-6461 • firstname.lastname@example.org
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