Thursday, March 23, 2023

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A proposed flavored tobacco ban is back on the table in Minnesota, Trump attorney Evan Corcoran must testify in the documents probe, and a "clean slate" bill in Missouri would make "expungement" automatic.

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The Fed raises interest rates and reassures the banking system is sound, Norfolk Southern reaffirms a commitment to the people of East Palestine, and TikTok creators gather at the Capitol to support free expression.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

NC Officials Encourage Testing for Radon

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Monday, January 30, 2023   

As January comes to a close so does Radon Action Month, but officials want North Carolinians to test for the poisonous gas this winter.

Radon is a radioactive gas produced by the natural breakdown of uranium in the soil and rocks. After smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. with the Environmental Protection Agency estimating it claims the lives of 21,000 Americans annually.

The gas seeps into homes via gaps and cracks in foundations, joints connecting walls to floors, as well as pipes and drains. Homes of any age can have a radon problem, this includes both well sealed and drafty structures.

Radon has no smell, color, or taste and requires testing to detect. Test kits are available at retailers and online.

Radon mitigation can cost several hundred to a few thousand dollars. Phillip Gibson is the coordinator of the North Carolina Radon Program, and said in some cases the state offers financial assistance.

"In terms of mitigation," said Gibson, "if someone is to find a high level in their home, then we have the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency that works with local groups to provide assistance to those who have financial need."

Short term test kits run for 2 to 7 days and are sent off to a lab for results.

The cancer risk associated with radon varies from person to person, with genetics playing a role. Gibson said there are three main factors to consider when assessing risk for radon induced lung cancer.

"Number one is testing, finding out what your level is in your home," said Gibson. "Secondly, understanding that we're looking at lifetime exposure, so the longer they're exposed to an average level. And then the third variable is whether you are an ever smoker or never smoker. If you've smoked 100 cigarettes or more ever in your life then you're an ever smoker, and that just puts you at a higher risk."

Experts say winter is the ideal season to check for radon as people keep their doors and windows closed and soil conditions are optimal for testing.


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