LJEA collaborates with Burke and McDowell County Extension Agents to publicize Radon Month (January) and encourage residents to test their homes for this gas. To Find Out if Your Home is Safe, Learn About It. Test for It.
After smoking, radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Since radon is invisible and has no odor, people tend ignore the possibility that there might be a silent killer in their home. Radon can reach harmful levels when trapped in homes and buildings, especially when buttoned up in winter. A number of our members have found unsafe levels in their own homes and have acted to reduce them.
It is recommended that you fix your home if the level is 4.0 pCi/L or more (picocuries/per liter of air is a measure of radioactivity). Actual test outcomes, determined by Air Chek, Inc., average 3.9 and 5.4 pCi/L, respectively, for homes in Burke and McDowell counties (from county-radon.info/NC/Burke.html and county-radon.info/NC/McDowell.html). To play it safe, untested homes in the two counties should be checked.
Since houses in the same neighborhood can have very different radon levels, every home should be tested. It is simple and inexpensive – free test kits are available during January from your county Extension Service Office or the NC Radon Program.
FREE radon test kits will be available from the Burke County Cooperative Extension at 130 Ammons Drive, Morganton, NC. Brief educational sessions giving instructions on radon and using the short-term radon testing kits will be held on Thursday, January 23 at 10:00 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. and on January 24 at 12:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., by Eleanor Summers, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent. Call 828-439-4460 for information and to pre-register or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREE radon test kits will be available on a first come-first served basis, beginning Wednesday, January 2nd, until the supply is exhausted. The Extension Service Office is in the County Administration Bldg., 60 East Court Street, Marion, NC 28752. Office hours are 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (closed for lunch from 12 to 1). For more information on radon and to receive your FREE radon test kit, please contact the McDowell County Cooperative Extension office by phone (828-652-7874) or email Molly_Sandfoss@ncsu.edu (Note: there is an underscore between Molly and Sandfoss, hidden by the underline). Additional information can be found on the NC Radon Program’s website at www.ncradon.org.
After January, test kits can be ordered from the NC Radon Program for as little as $5.34 each (securechek.com/cgi-bin/ncdenr_subsidy.cgi ), purchased at local hardware and home improvement stores or ordered directly from radon testing companies. Should your home be found to have elevated levels of radon (4 pCi/L or higher), the problem can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost of about $1,000 to $2,500 depending on the home.
Free publications about radon are available to the public year around (by pick-up or by mail) from your county Extension Service Office or by visiting the NC Radon Program’s website at www.ncradon.org/Home.html. Consumer information is also available on-line from EPA at www.epa.gov/radon/nram/public.html.