Radon – A Silent Killer
by Deborah Cox, County Extension Director and Family & Consumer Sciences Agent
Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas. Radon is released harmlessly from the ground into outdoor air, but it can accumulate and reach harmful levels when trapped in homes and buildings.
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is responsible for more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U. S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Since radon does not have an odor and is invisible, people tend to downplay the health effects and ignore the possibility that there might be a silent killer within the walls of their home.
Some homes in this county have tested high for radon. Houses in the same neighborhood can have very different levels, so every home should be tested. Testing homes for radon is simple and inexpensive. Radon test kits can be purchased at local hardware and home improvement stores, directly from radon testing companies, or are available for free during January from the NC Radon Program. Should your home be found to have elevated levels of radon, the problem can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost similar to that of many other home repairs. In our area, the cost can be from $1,000 to $2,500, depending on the home.
The NC Radon Program urges residents to take action during this year’s National Radon Action Month by testing their homes for radon. Radon poses a serious threat to our community’s health, but there is a straightforward solution. For more information on radon and to receive a free radon test kit, please contact your Cooperative Extension office at 700 N. Main St., Danbury NC 27016, or call 336-593-8179, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Or visit the NC
Radon Program’s website at www.ncradon.org.