TAZEWELL, Va. — Radon will be piped out of new buildings constructed in Tazewell County in an effort to reduce exposure and the risk of cancer.
The board of supervisors voted June 4 to adopt the radon control methods set forth in the 2015 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code. The methods apply to both residential and commercial buildings.
A 2013 study conducted by researchers from Virginia Tech identified radon exposure as one of the contributing factors in a high rate of cancer in the county.
The board of supervisors held a public hearing June 4 get public input on implementing a part of the 2015 statewide building code requiring radon resistant construction measure for new homes constructed in the county.
Board Chairman Travis Hackworth, who operates Twin Enterprises Inc., a local construction business, proposed the measure. Hackworth said the measure would increase the cost of new construction between $250 and $500. Hackworth said the program pipes radon from the substructure through vents.
“I think it is a very prudent thing for this board to do. I don’t think there is a person in this room who hasn’t had a friend or relative affected by cancer. This is a very small thing that we can do to improve the quality of life and maybe reduce the risk of cancer,” he said.
County Attorney Chase Collins said the Environmental Protection Agency identified the county as a high radon potential area. He said the Virginia Tech study showed radon present in 30% of the homes they studied in the county.
Hackworth said the rule did not apply to homes with a crawl space. Houses built on slab or with a basement will have the system put in place. County Administrator Eric Young said the county received 1,000 radon testing kits from the state health department and those are available free at the building inspectors’ office until they are gone.
He said the health department also makes the kits available to the public. Supervisor Charlie Stacy asked for a show of hands supporting the measure and everyone in the audience complied.