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State of Alaska to offer free radon home test kits

Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 4:09 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Department of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) is offering free home radon test kits to Alaskans.

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the earth, seeps up through cracks in the ground and into buildings, and may become concentrated in your home.

Radon is colorless and odorless - and according to Jennifer Athey, a Geologist with the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, “If you breathe radon for something like 5, to 25, to thirty years, you could develop lung cancer over the long term. It’s a very important thing to make sure you check in your home.”

Winter time is the best time of year to test for radon in the home according to the DGGS. Athey told us, “In the winter time, radon has a higher chance of concentrating in people’s homes. When you’re running your heater, and you have your windows and your door shut, it creates a stack effect, or essentially negative pressure in your home. So that warm air goes up and out, and the cold air can come up and into your house from the ground, and those gasses from the ground can contain radon.”

The DGGS will be offering free radon test kits through the end of January.

“The Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys has a number of free radon test kits during January, and we hope everyone in Alaska will contact us and ask for a free radon kit. We also will refer people to other locations to obtain kits after January, which is National Radon Action Month. The test kits that Alaska Geological Surveys has right now are short term kits, and they stay in your house for three to seven days. Once you’re done with the test, it has to be immediately put into the mail so that it can go across the country to the laboratory,” said Athey.

The tests cannot only can help Alaskan households be safer, but will also help update and strengthen a map documenting the presence and concentration of radon around the state. That map is available at: https://maps.dggs.alaska.gov/radon/.

To request a kit, contact Sam Knapp at sam.knapp@alaska.gov or (907) 451-5013.

For more information on responses to test results, visit https://doi.org/10.14509/30467.

For information on how to repair against radon leaks, visit https://doi.org/10.14509/30474.

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