January is National Radon Action Month. Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed from naturally occurring elements in rocks and soil. It can filter through soil and enter the basement of a home. It can also dissolve in the water and be released to the air in the home as you use the water. Radium and uranium, the naturally occurring elements that produce radon, can also dissolve in well water. These elements emit a type of radiation known as alpha radiation. Some people who drink water with high levels of alpha emitters over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer and other health problems.
Radon and other alpha emitters can be detected through laboratory tests. These test kits are available at the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory and at private laboratories.
Maine CDC’s Radiation Control Program provides free information packets on different aspects of radon.