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. 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. 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.
The WNC Regional Air Quality Agency and Buncombe County Environmental Health are partnering with the NC Radon Program to provide free short-term radon test kits to the citizens of Buncombe County during the month of January while supplies last. Beginning Jan 9th, 2019- test kits can be picked up Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 5 pm at Environmental Health, 30 Valley Street, or at the WNC Regional Air Quality Agency, 52 Coxe Avenue, in Asheville. Directions and contact information can be found at www.wncairquality.org and www.buncombecounty.org/eh. Once the free kits are distributed, short-term radon test kits can be purchased from local home improvement and hardware stores or online.
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. Houses in the same neighborhood can have very different levels, so every home should be tested.
Please consider grabbing a free radon testing kit and test your home in January! Visit the NC Radon Program’s webpage for more information about radon. You can also find a list of online retailers for testing kits at www.ncradon.org.