Free radon kits temporarily unavailable from DEQ. Here's why. | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Free radon kits temporarily unavailable from DEQ. Here's why.

Nov 19, 2020

Credit DEQ

The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality has a banner on its website, saying free radon tests are not available.

And there are reasons for that.

One is a testing program of schools for the odorless, colorless gas.

"We haven't tested North Dakota schools since the 90s," DEQ's Justin Otto said. "We felt it's time to go back to those schools and see what their radon levels are, because we want to make sure the kids, teachers and staff are safe."

Otto said two years ago, 26 schools in southwestern North Dakota were tested. He said over the past year, DEQ was hoping to test 45 schools – but COVID hit, and the department only got 26 of the schools tested. He said once COVID is more under control, the department will restart its testing program.

Also, Otto says DEQ goes to home shows across the state.

"We have slips available for the public, to take from our booth," Otto said. "They can put their address on the slip, send it into us, and we will send them a free radon test kit."

Otto said test kits are available at retailers. And he said they're not very expensive.

"$15-$20, if you have to purchase one, will give you peace of mind to know that you're living in a state where radon is the second largest cause of lung cancer,  behind smoking," Otto said.

Otto said January is “Radon Action Month” – and the plan is to again have free radon test kits available.

"We just have to see how much funding we have available, and holw many radon test kits we can allocate to that," Otto said.