Pike County Times

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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal at the link on the bottom of the page. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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January Is Radon Action Month: Why It’s Time to Test Your Home If You Live in Pike County

ZEBULON - According to data from the University of Georgia Radon Education Program, homes in Pike County have a 22.9% chance of having an elevated level of radon in the air. This can happen in any kind of home with any type of construction, including slab on grade, crawlspace, and homes with basements.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can be harmful after an extended exposure to high levels. Because people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, typically at home or work, they can be exposed to elevated levels. Radon is a colorless and odorless gas so you do not know when, or if, you are exposed until you test. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rocks and water. Uranium is often found in areas with high levels in granite, which is readily present throughout Georgia. As the gas migrates up through the soil, it can enter a building and concentrate indoors.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for nonsmokers, and the second leading cause overall, behind tobacco smoke. Radon is responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths per year with over 800 of those deaths in Georgia. Luckily, testing for radon is easy and exposure to radon is preventable.

Test kits are available from several sources, including ordering online at www.UGAradon.org. Kits purchased online cost $15 and include the kit, shipping, lab analysis, and results. Through January, Georgians can get $5 off the cost of a test kit using the promo code NRAM2020.

Winter is the best time to test for radon, because the heat is on and your home acts like a vacuum, sucking up gases from the ground under your home. If your home has an elevated level of radon, the test will be more likely to indicate that than when testing other times of the year.

If the radon level in your home is elevated, you can install a radon reduction system. A radon reduction (or radon mitigation) system reduces high levels of indoor radon to acceptable levels. The most commonly used system is a vent pipe system and fan that pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside.

Another source of radon exposure is from drinking water that comes from private wells. In Georgia, wells drilled into granitic crystalline rock aquifers are at risk of naturally occurring radon contamination. If you don’t know whether there is radon in your well water, have the water tested. The UGA Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories in Athens tests water samples for the presence of radon. To get a water testing kit, contact the Pike County Extension office at (770) 567-2010.

To learn more about radon and what you can do to keep yourself and your family safe go to www.UGAradon.org or attend an upcoming free program sponsored by UGA Extension: Pike and Spalding Counties on January 7, 2020 from 4:00-6:00 at the Spalding County Extension office or tune in on Facebook Live through the Pike County Extension Facebook page. The event will have experts on both radon in air and radon in water to answer all of your questions. To register for this event, please contact Pike County Extension by calling (770) 567-2010. Testing kits will be available for purchase at the event or through either Extension office.

Submitted 12.30.19