LAURINBURG —The Scotland County Health Department is providing free short-term radon test kits in recognition of January being National Radon Action Month.
The county is partnering with the North Carolina Radon Program of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to provide the test kits. Only one kit per home is needed to determine if your home has a high level, officials said.
Lowering the radon levels in a home decreases the risk of lung cancer, according to Brian Lowry, Environmental Health Coordinator at Scotland County Health Department,
Radon gas comes from decayed radium and uranium in the soil and typically invades homes and buildings through foundation cracks and openings and even directly through concrete. Radon cannot be seen, has no scent, and is colorless, making it extremely dangerous. The aim of the month-long awareness campaign is to educate people about radon, its health risks, how to test homes for radon and what actions need to be taken if high levels of radon are present.
“As the turning of the seasons brings colder weather to North Carolina and families close windows to keep warm, it is an excellent time to make plans for radon testing in your home,” Lowry said. “The effects of radon upon the families it touches can be just as devastating as lung cancer caused by smoking tobacco.”
Each year about 22,000 people die from radon-induced lung cancer. Roughly 54 percent of those diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer are expected to live no more than five years after diagnosis.
A limited supply of radon test kits are being made available locally at the Scotland County Health Department at 1405 West Blvd, Mondays through Fridays from 8 am to 5 pm. Approximately 7,000 free kits are being distributed statewide.
The NC Radon Program website — www.ncradon.org — can also provide a limited supply of kits. Once the supply of free kits have been exhausted, the program will return to providing short-term radon test kits at a reduced cost. Kits retail for about $15.
The North Carolina Radon Program website also contains a new mobile application. Meant to particularly help real estate brokers working in North Carolina, the mobile application will assist the user in determining how many tests have been conducted within a zip code as well as the highest radon level recorded in that zip code. The user of the APP will also be able to locate a certified professional to assist them in testing or fixing the radon issue in their home.
The cost of lowering radon levels in a home averages to about $1,500. The North Carolina Radon Protection Section sought help for families that might struggle to meet that expense. The Self Help Credit Union stepped up and created a loan program specifically for radon mitigation.
North Carolina homeowners who meet federal poverty criteria may be eligible for forgivable loans from local programs. A link to more information is available on the NC Radon Program web page.
For information visit www.ncradon.org, or contact Lowry at 910/277-2470, Ext. 4421.
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023