By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the Environmental Protection Agency has designated January as National Radon Action Month, the City of Minnesota has announced they’re giving away 200 free radon test kits.

As Heather Brown reported last night in Good Question, in Minnesota, an estimated 40% of homes have “dangerous” levels about 4 pCi/L. That’s compared to a nationwide rate of 7%. Because of cold weather, Minnesotans keep their homes closed up for a large portion of the year, which allows for radon to build up.

Radon is a gas that’s found in the soil. People can’t see it or smell it and it can be drawn up into home through the cracks, gaps or openings in a foundation.

According the EPA, radon is the number two cause of lung cancer in the U.S, behind smoking. It is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year.

These 200 kits for Minneapolis homes were donated by the Minnesota Department of Health, in order to increase awareness of the risks of the gas.

Those who wish to request a free kit should email health@minneapolismn.gov.

In addition to the Minneapolis ones, test kits are available in a number of places, including hardware stores, certain cities, and counties or through private companies. The Minnesota Department of Health lists locations on its website.