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.
Radon is the odorless, colorless gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The effects upon the families it touches can be devastating.
January is National Radon Action Month. Each year up to 22,000 people die from radon-induced lung cancer in the U.S. Prolonged exposure to radon at high levels can lead to lung cancer. “It is an underestimated killer,” said Jimmy Ruiz, M.D., medical thoracic oncologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “One out of every 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated radon levels. The problem is few people know what radon is, where it comes from and how to fix it.”
The Forsyth County Department of Public Health, the Office of Environmental Assistance and Protection, and the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension are partnering with the North Carolina Radon Program to provide free short-term radon test kits in recognition of National Radon Action Month. The partnership also includes Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and The Dusty Joy Foundation (LiveLung) to help educate the community about radon and lung cancer, and provide resources on lung cancer screening and prevention. Through education and action we can hope to reduce risk of exposure to this cancer causing gas to ensure the safety of people in their own homes.
Radon test kits are being made available locally beginning January 9th while supplies last. Kits can be picked up in Winston-Salem at the Health Department at 799 North Highland Avenue, the 5th floor of the Government Center at 201 North Chestnut Street, or at the extension office at 1450 Fairchild Road. These free kits are only available for those residents who will be performing their first radon test, and will not be provided for repeat or confirmation testing. Once the supply of free kits has been exhausted, short-term radon test kits can be purchased year round from Environmental Assistance and Protection for $6 and long-term kits for $14.
Lung cancer can strike anyone, even a nonsmoker. Test your home for radon and lower your family’s risk of lung cancer. For more information visit www.ncradon.org or to contact the local distribution offices call Environmental Assistance and Protection at 336-703-2440, Environmental Health at 336-703-3225 or Cooperative Extension at 336-703-2850.