Here’s the information from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and Buncombe County:
The Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency (WNCRAQA) is providing free radon test kits to the citizens of Buncombe County during the month of January while supplies last.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is invisible, odorless, and tasteless. 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.
Buncombe County has been designated as a Zone 1 County by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which means the average home will test over 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), the level at which it is recommended that you fix your home.
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 and the WNCRAQA urge 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 visit the NC Radon Program’s website at www.ncradon.org.
To Get Your FREE Test Kit:
If you live in or near Buncombe County and would like to obtain a free radon test kit, stop by the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency which is located at 49 Mount Carmel Road. Directions and more information are on our website at www.wncairquality.org. The free radon test kits will be distributed as long as supplies last. Office hours are 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
Citizens that are not able to come by the office to pick up a kit during regular business hours can submit a request to receive a kit through the mail from the NC Radon program at www.ncradon.org.
Free test kits are also available in other counties in Western North Carolina. According to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, you can visit any of the following 20 County Agriculture Extension Offices to pick up a free kit while supplies last: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Cherokee, Durham, Hoke, Franklin, Graham, Henderson, Johnston, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Person, Stokes, Transylvania, Watauga and Yadkin.
Or you can visit any of the following County Health Departments on the following dates where staff from the N.C. Radon Program will visit from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to distribute test kits and answer questions:
Jan. 14, Mitchell County, 130 Forest Service Drive, Suite A, Bakersville
Jan. 15, Yancey County, 202 Medical Campus Drive, Burnsville
Jan. 16, Davie County, 210 Hospital St., Mocksville
Jan. 17, Davidson County, 915 Greensboro St., Lexington
Jan. 21, Caldwell County, 2345 Morganton Blvd., Suite B, Lenoir
Jan. 22, Alexander County, 338 1st Ave., SW, Suite 1, Taylorsville
Jan. 23, Catawba County, 3070 11th Ave. Drive SE, Hickory
Jan. 24, Jackson County, 538 Scotts Creek Road, Suite 100, Sylva
Jan. 27, Rockingham County, 371 NC Highway 65, Suite 204, Wentworth