As part of National Radon Awareness Month, Teton County Public Health’s Environmental Health Division wants to remind residents to test their homes for radon. Healthy Teton County’s Community Health Improvement Plan created a Radon Action Group, which is focusing 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 – 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. 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.
Teton County, along with most of Wyoming, is a Zone 1 Radon Area. This means that the predicted average indoor screening levels are greater than the EPA’s threshold of 4 pCi/L (pCi/L stands for picoCuries per liter of air, a unit of radioactive measurement). If elevated radon levels are detected, residents are urged to get their homes inspected or mitigated by a certified professional radon inspector. For more information, please call the Environmental Health Division at 307-732-8490, or stop by our office for a test kit.