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High radon levels can be problem in Triangle homes

Posted June 22, 2009

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— Four Triangle counties have some of the state's highest levels of radon, a naturally radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer after long exposure, according to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Radon levels high in Triangle homes Radon levels high in Triangle homes

Radon levels stay high north from Wake County through Franklin, Vance and Warren counties. The only other areas with similar levels are in the mountains.

Check on radon levels throughout the state.

Newlyweds Mark and Karen Hite learned about the high level of radon months after they bought a north Raleigh home. A radon test revealed levels twice as high as the recommended EPA limit.

"We were shocked," Karen Hite said.

They consulted experts to learn more about the gas. "It only become a concern when it's trapped inside the home and can't escape, can't get back outside," said Dr. Zyg Gromadzki, founder and co-owner of Radon Testing Labs.

It turns out the Hites bought a home in an area prone to high radon levels.

"That portion of Wake County sits on a huge granite formation. The uranium which causes radon is trapped in the granite formation," Gromadzki.

Radon testing supplies can cost as little as $10. For the most accurate results, experts recommend hiring a certified, professional to test for radon.

Lowering radon levels, though, can be much more costly. A system that can be installed in homes costs about $1,500.

The Hites said they wish they could have had information before they bought a house.

Their buyers' agreement did say they could pay extra for a radon test, but the couple said they didn't see it. North Carolina does not require radon testing during home inspections.

"We could have made an educated decision about whether or not to purchase the home," Karen Hite said.

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  • The Fox Jun 24, 2009

    Geosol- so you know, I've worked in the uranium mining industry for 35 years (breathed it, measured it, studied it) and know a little bit on the subject of radon daughters, alpha & beta particle decay, ventilation, and health effects on individuals.

  • geosol Jun 23, 2009

    "Add it that granite countertop exposure (some granites have high radioactive readings) and you compound the issue a home may already have. Yes, granite countertops. Depends on the source of the granite and the only way you will know is to have it tested BEFORE it's installed."

    Sorry, another myth that has been disproved by testing. The amount of radon from granite countertops is negligible. There's an amazing amount of disinformation out there on this subject. Please folks, if you have questions about this subject, ask the experts and be very careful of stuff on the internet and the neighbor's fence.

  • dlb800 Jun 23, 2009

    I wonder if they glow at night..

  • Nancy Jun 23, 2009

    Radon gas poisoning from natural sources has been widely known, in fact, radon testing when you list a home is becoming quite common. We had to do it when we sold our home in Maryland in 1993.

    Add it that granite countertop exposure (some granites have high radioactive readings) and you compound the issue a home may already have. Yes, granite countertops. Depends on the source of the granite and the only way you will know is to have it tested BEFORE it's installed.

  • geosol Jun 23, 2009

    "If you don't smoke don't worry about it. However smoking + radon can be very harmful.:"

    This is absolutely NOT TRUE!!!!!!! Please don't assume radon gas is only harmful if you smoke. If you would like more information on the health effects of radon, you can contact toxicologists and radiation specialists at NCDENR, USEPA, and the CDC.

  • The Fox Jun 22, 2009

    If you don't smoke don't worry about it. However smoking + radon can be very harmful.