Agent says radon a problem in area


Pat Smith fears some Shoals residents might unknowingly have the second leading cause of lung cancer lurking in their homes. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in most rocks and soil. Radon is harmless when dispersed into outdoor air, but when trapped in buildings, it can increase the risk of lung cancer, especially at elevated levels, said Smith, a regional agent for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Radon is problematic across north Alabama, she said. In Colbert County, 30 percent of the homes tested had elevated levels of radon. In Lauderdale County, 25 percent of the homes tested had elevated levels of the gas while 16 percent in Franklin and 12 percent in Lawrence had excessive radon, she said.

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