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Radon Awareness For UC Homeowners

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Radon Awareness For UC Homeowners

Radon is not normally an issue for people, but when it gets trapped into the foundation of a home it can cause serious health risks.

Upper Cumberland counties rank high in potential radon exposure. Overton County UT Ag Extension Director Christina Swallows said radioactive elements break down in the soil and rise up, releasing radon which is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Swallows said testing is a cheap solution to protection.

“The test kit is inexpensive, and I really recommend every home owner to purchase one,” Swallows said. “You can get it at your local hardware stores in most cases, and also there is a free kit online.”

Jackson County is in zone 1 of the EPA’s Radon map, meaning the average indoor screening levels are above the acceptable level. Swallows said testing kits usually cost about $15 and the free kits are available online through TDEC.

“January, February is the perfect time to go in and check your radon in your house,” Swallows said. “With windows closed and everything’s closed off and that’s where you want to take that little kit. It’s a matter of setting up the kit and putting it at the lowest part that you live in.”

Swallows said even if someone lives in zone 2 of the radon map, hot spots occur. She said this actually happened to her, and finding out there are high radon levels after building a home, can be costly.

“I would encourage people to test their sites, prior to building,” Swallows said. “Because it is not as expensive to go ahead and prepare your home in case there is a radon problem. As it would be to go in later and have to fix it.”

Swallows said when testing, the number should be below four picocuries per liter. She said being in a home with radon levels as high as 40 picocuries per liter, equals four packs of cigarettes a day for a person.



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