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North Carolina

Radon Levels Raise Concerns in Several NC Counties

January is National Radon Action Month. The gas, also known as the silent killer, is found in high concentrations in some parts of the Piedmont Triad.

According to the EPA, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in the U.S. and claims the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year.

Jen Hames, the health education supervisor at the Davidson County Health Department, explains why some parts of the state have higher concentrations of radon.

“Radon is a naturally occurring gas, but it is in the rocks and soil, and to some degree it may be in the ground water as well, so any part of the state that has a lot of rocky areas is going to have a higher level of radon. There are about 20 counties that are considered to have a higher level in the state and Davidson County is one of them,” says Hames.

Some of the highest levels of radon in the state can be found in Rockingham, Alleghany and Watauga counties.

Expanding Business Ready to Protect North Carolina Homeowners

Tryon, NC – Homeowners in western North Carolina are exposed to some of the most dangerous levels of radon in the country and an expanding business is ready to keep people safe from this toxic gas. Employees of Foothills Crawlspace have just completed expert-level training and are ready to take care of all of the area’s radon problems- a problem which kills more than 20,000 people every year.

A study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that Western Carolinians are at a higher risk than those in the rest of the state when it comes to radon exposure. Radon is an invisible, odorless gas that comes from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. The danger occurs when high levels of radon become concentrated in a home. When radon is inhaled, radioactive particles become trapped in lungs and decay, damaging lung cells. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

Lung Cancer, the Deadliest of all Cancers, Receives Far Less Funding, Empathy in Asheville Area

ASHEVILLE — Lung cancer doesn't have an iconic ribbon or well-known signature color. In fact, it doesn't even have its own support group in Western North Carolina.

Yet lung cancer will take more lives this year than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined.

November marks Lung Cancer Awareness Month, but as many area physicians, health workers and patients have noticed, awareness is in relatively short supply. But in even shorter supply for lung cancer patients is public empathy.

In the wake of ‘Pink October's' flood of breast cancer awareness efforts, the elephant in the room is one thing that hasn't been painted pink, but remains a distinct shade of lung cancer's signature gray.

“Lung cancer certainly kills more people, but it doesn't have the sexy marketing campaign that breast cancer has had,” said Becky Pitts, a lung cancer nurse navigator at Mission Hospital, and a breast cancer survivor herself.

High Radon Levels Found in Asheville, NC, Residents Encouraged to Test

High Radon Levels Found in Asheville, NC, Residents Encouraged to Test

ASHEVILLE — The idea of a silent killer in your home may be frightening, but what about a killer that's also odorless, intangible and invisible?

Radon poisoning, the second-leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco use, is just that.
With six of the eight counties with the highest radon levels in North Carolina nestled among the 18 western counties, area residents should be paying especially close attention to the elusive carcinogen.

Radon is an odorless, invisible gas that, while harmless in the open air, can be dangerous when concentrated. Seeping out of the ground, it accumulates in houses, schools and workplaces, accounting for about 21,000 deaths each year in the United States.

Radon can become more concentrated this time of year as homes are closed up and sealed for the winter.

Radon Lurks In Many Upstate Homes

Radon Lurks In Many Upstate Homes

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. -- Eddie Metcalfe of Hendersonville says he's lucky to be alive and he gives partial credit to a kidney stone.

In January 2008, Metcalfe, a regional manager for a spice company, was on a business trip in south Florida.

"I woke up in the middle of the morning and passed a kidney stone and went that morning to the emergency room at the local hospital," Metcalfe told WYFF News 4's Myra Ruiz. "They did a CAT scan on my kidneys and found I had a spot on my lung."

Doctors diagnosed Metcalfe with lung cancer. "The fact that I hadn't smoked in 23 years pretty much ruled out smoking. I'm not around smoke. I don't work in an environment that's cancer-causing."

That's when Metcalfe learned about radon - a colorless, odorless gas - from his doctor back home.

"He told me that it was the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States," Metcalfe said.

Immediately, Metcalfe bought a test kit from a local home improvement store.