Radon is said to be tasteless, odorless, radioactive gas. But kits for testing for radon in homes are now available free of charge to Leavenworth County residents.
The Leavenworth County Planning and Zoning Department received 15 of the free kits from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said Jim Kraatz, environmental planner for the county.
And the Leavenworth County Health Department received 23 of the kits, Health Department spokeswoman Amy Tollefson said.
The kits were distributed to the county agencies as part of a statewide campaign that is encouraging people to test for radon in their homes, Kraatz said.
Gov. Sam Brownback and KDHE proclaimed January as "Kansas Radon Action Month."
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and the first leading cause of lung cancer among people who have never smoked, according to the KDHE.
"It's a naturally occurring gas," Kraatz said.
He said Planning and Zoning will provide the free test kits on a first come basis.
People interested in a free kit can contact Kraatz at 913-684-1084 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The kits can be picked up at the Planning and Zoning Department at the Leavenworth County Courthouse, 300 Walnut St.
Tollefson said people interested in picking up a kit from the Health Department, 500 Eisenhower Road, should call ahead first to make sure kits are still available. The Leavenworth County Health Department can be reached at 913-250-2000.
Kraatz said a person wanting one of the free test kits has to fill out a registration form.
Once a test is completed in a home, the test device can be mailed to a laboratory for analysis. Postage is included in the kit.
Lab results will be sent to the residents as well as the KDHE.
It's recommended that residents contact certified radon contractors if levels of 4 picoCuries per liter are detected.
About one of every three radon measurements taken in Kansas are above 4 picoCuries per liter, according the KDE.
Radon test kits also can be purchased at the Leavenworth County K-State Research & Extension Office, 613 Holiday Plaza in Lansing, or hardware and builder supply stores.
Not everyone supports the county's participation in the radon awareness campaign. County Commissioner Dennis Bixby voted against the county's participation in the program Thursday. The other two commissioners supported the county's involvement in the program.
Bixby argued radon has been around for as long as there have been American Indians on the Plains but people now are suddenly worried about it. He said radon awareness efforts seem to come in 10-year cycles.