Douglas County residents can have their homes tested for radon at no cost under a grant provided to the Douglas County Health Department by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
The grant provides DCHD with 250 radon test kits to be distributed to areas that have a large number of older homes where radon is more likely to be found, such as through the Douglas County Women, Infants and Children Program.
Any remaining test kits will be distributed at a later date and the method will be determined based on the number of kits available to Ralston and Omaha residents.
Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas that originates from natural deposits of radium and uranium in the soil.
As these compounds decay, radon gas is formed that can enter a home, often via problems with indoor air pressures that allow the gas to move into the basement through the foundation.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General’s office, radon is responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
Radon can be found throughout the United States, but the EPA has recognized Eastern Nebraska as having some of the country’s most elevated radon levels.
“The only way to be sure if your home is safe from radon is to have it tested,” Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said in a press release. “Radon may be more common in older homes, but every home should be tested for this potentially deadly gas.”