JACKSON HOLE, WYO – As part of National Radon Awareness Month, Teton County Public Health’s Environmental Health Division is reminding residents to test their homes for radon.
A Radon Action Group has been created to help focus on increasing the number of homes and establishments in Teton County that test for radon. Short-term radon detection kits are available for $10 at the Teton County Public Health Department, located at 460 E. Pearl Avenue, from 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that forms naturally when radioactive metals break down in rocks, soil, and groundwater. This gas enters homes and buildings from the soil beneath, through cracks in the floors and walls, and other openings in the foundation. Basements and ground floors are most susceptible.
When people breathe radon, the radioactive decay products damage lung tissue, which can increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer. In fact, exposure to radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in the United States, and it is the largest non-medical radiation exposure. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year are attributable to radon.
Wyoming is a Zone 1 Radon area (highest potential to have elevated radon levels) and studies have shown that 33% of the homes tested in Wyoming have elevated levels, 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or higher; in Teton County 41.6% of homes tested have elevated levels with an average level of 7.2 pCi/L. If elevated Radon levels are detected, residents are urged to contact a professional radon inspector.