The Silent Danger: Radon

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January is Radon Action MonthJanuary is National Radon Action Month. Did you know that 1 in every 15 homes has high radon levels? According to the Center for Disease Control, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon is an odorless, invisible radioactive gas that is naturally occurring and formed by the decay of uranium in rocks, soil, or water. When radon leaches into your home or building through cracks or holes, it can accumulate over time and get confined within the air that you breathe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that nearly 21,000 people die each year from radon induced lung cancer in the United States.

To know if you have radon in your home, a free test kit is available to all North Carolina residents as part of the N.C. Radon Program.

If your radon levels are below 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) and you want to reduce them further, consider sealing cracks in your floors and walls and increasing the ventilation inside your home. Natural ventilation such as opening a window is only a temporary solution as levels of radon can return to previous levels within 12 hours once windows, vents and doors are shut again.

If your test reveals high radon levels of 4 pCi/L or above, then the EPA recommends you hire a qualified professional to install a radon reduction (also called radon mitigation) system. Radon reduction systems can be highly effective with up to a reduction of 99% from the initial testing. After installation of the radon reduction system, a retest should be completed in the first 30 days and every 2 years following.

For more information visit:

EPA Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction

EPA Radon Website

EPA:Radon-Resistant Construction Basics and Techniques

NCDHHS: NC Radon Program

Order Your Free Radon Kit

For further questions, please contact Marlana Baker, Family & Consumer Science Agent at marlana_baker@ncsu.edu or by calling (828)837-2210 extension 5.