Radon – A Silent Killer
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. Scientists have long been concerned about the health risks of radon, but never before has there been such overwhelming proof that exposure to elevated levels of radon causes lung cancer in humans.
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.
Granville County is classified as Level 3, which generally carries the lowest levels of radon, less than 2pCi/L. However, 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. The Granville County Extension Center has a limited supply of free radon kits. Stop by the Center at 208 Wall Street in Oxford to pick up one. Or, call ahead at 919.603.1350 to make sure we still have a supply. Should your home be found to have elevated levels of radon (over 4pCi/L), the problem can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost similar to that of many other home repairs. In this area, the cost can be from $800 to $2500 depending on the home.
For more information on radon and to receive your free radon test kit via the Internet, visit the NC Radon Program’s website at www.ncradon.org.