SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – January is National Radon Action Month, and the Siouxland District Health Department (SDHD) wants Siouxlanders to be knowledgeable about the meaning behind the month’s cause.

The SDHD said radon is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that can cause long-term exposure issues like lung cancer. The department also said Iowa has the highest percentage of homes with elevated radon levels throughout the country.

What is radon?
Radon enters a home from the soil surrounding the home, and it’s produced through the breakdown of uranium in soil, water, and rocks.

“You can’t see, smell, or taste radon, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year. In fact, the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools, and other buildings for radon. Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk, and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family,” reads a statement from Environmental Protection (EPA).

What can I do to see if I’m affected?
Kits are used to test for radon in a home. The kits are purchasable at hardware stories, calling the Iowa Radon Hotline (800-383-5992), or visiting the Siouxland District Health Department. If radon is detected at an unsafe level, officials will contact certified radon professionals to help decrease the levels in the home.

The Siouxland District Health Department can be contacted at 712-279-6119.