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Radon safety, awareness urged this month

By Staff
Melissa Cason
Franklin County Cooperative Extension Agent Katernia Cole is working to bring awareness to a serious health threat in Franklin County – radon.
January is National Radon Awareness Month, and the Franklin County Extension is working to promote radon awareness.
During the Jan. 5 council meeting, the Red Bay City Council voted to declare January as Radon Awareness in Red Bay.
The Franklin County Commission and the Russellville City Council expect similar action.
Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that is colorless, tasteless and odorless. It is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and claims approximately 20,000 lives each year, Cole said.
"Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets in the air that we breathe," Cole said.
Radon can be found in any building such as homes, schools, offices, and can elevate to high levels if trapped indoors. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that homes be tested for radon every two years.
Radon test kits can be purchased for $5 at the extension office, located in the basement of the Franklin County Courthouse.
Franklin County is one of several Alabama counties that are considered to have a high risk of radon, which is why testing is so important for our county.
Should radon be detected in the home, Cole said the problem does not have to be costly.
Ways to decrease the radon levels in the home include stop smoking in the home, spend less time in areas where radon may be more concentrated such as the basement, open windows and turn on fans to increase air flow throughout the home and open air vents in crawl spaces.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, radon can be stopped before it starts if a new home is being built.
"It is inexpensive to build a new home with radon-resistant features," Faud Reveiz with the association said.
"The home will be both greener for the planet and healthier for your family."
For more information on the importance of radon testing, visit www.aces.edu/radon or call Katernia Cole at 332-8880.