UPDATE: NCDHHS distributes all free radon test kits

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is providing 3,000 free radon test kits to help reduce the risk of lung cancer from radon.
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 4:00 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2023 at 12:30 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has distributed all of the free radon test kits aimed at reducing the risk of lung cancer from radon. NCDHHS previously announced that 3,000 free tests were available.

According to the NCDHHS, radon is an odorless, colorless gas that is released from the ground into outdoor air and can accumulate and reach harmful levels when trapped in homes and buildings.

The NCDHHS website notes that the free kits were made possible by a federal grant, and that they hope to provide the service again in January of next year.

It is currently the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The risk of lung cancer among current or former smokers of tobacco increases by 10 times if they live in a home with elevated radon. Information provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that 77 of the 100 counties in North Carolina have indoor air levels of radon that are above safety standards, with a level of four or higher in a home considered unsafe.

Approximately 450 people die each year in North Carolina from radon-induced lung cancer. The highest recorded radon building test in New Hanover County is 9.3 pCi/L, in Brunswick County is 3.6 pCi/L and in Pender County is 27.4 pci/L. The “action level” for indoor radon air levels is anything above 4 pCi/L.

“Survey data collected through the 2015 and 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System reflects a lack of awareness about radon among historically marginalized communities, particularly among Black and Hispanic communities, people with low income and people who rent their homes,” said NCDHHS in a release.

The NC Radon Program recommends hiring a certified radon mitigator to fix elevated radon levels. Everyone is exposed to some level of radon.

For more information, you can visit NCDHHS’s website here. For information on radon mitigation, visit the radon mitigation webpage here.