The Invisible Threat: Test Your Home for Radon This Winter


Over the past three years, testing revealed that roughly half of the homes tested in Dane County had high levels of radon. Radon is a radioactive gas common throughout Wisconsin, that can’t be seen, smelled, or tasted, even at high levels, making it an invisible threat to your health.

“Radon comes from the ground and seeps into homes through tiny cracks in basement floors,” said John Hausbeck, Environmental Health Supervisor for Public Health Madison & Dane County. “Living in a home with high radon levels can be dangerous to your health and the health of your family.”

Over time, exposure to radon in a home can cause deadly lung cancer. Because of the ways that radon and tobacco smoke damage the lungs, it can be especially dangerous for people who smoke. Their risk of lung cancer is 10 times higher than that of non-smokers.

“With the rise of popularity for remote working, more people than ever are spending the majority of their time in their homes, so we want to make sure the air you’re breathing is safe. The only way to do that is to get it tested,” said Hausbeck.

January is National Radon Action Month and the South Central Radon Information Center, representing Dane, Rock, and Green counties, urges everyone to test their home for radon.

“You simply open up the kit and put it in a room in the lowest level of your house that you spend at least 7 hours a week in. After 2-4 days, you send it to the lab to be tested,” continued Hausbeck. Lab results are usually available about two to three weeks later.

There are many ways to buy a test kit:

  • Call the South-Central Radon Information Center at (608) 243-0392
  • Stop by a Public Health office, open on weekdays
    • The Atrium - 2300 S. Park St., Suite 2010, Madison
    • City County Building - 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Rm. 507
    • East Washington Avenue Office - 2705 E. Washington Ave., Madison
  • Online or at local hardware stores
  • Through a certified radon mitigation contractor
If test results show that there is a concerning level of radon, a certified contractor can install a system to prevent radon from getting into the house. For more information regarding radon, including a list of qualified radon remediation contractors, visit the Wisconsin Radon Information webpage.


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