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that cancer was likely caused by a combination of lifestyle and

environmental factors, like radon.

“Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the ground

where there are uranium deposits,” explained Marmagas. “Some

homes may have high levels of radon, some may not.”

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer next to


“If you put smokers in homes with radon your lung cancer risk

is significant,” continued Marmagas. “Tazewell sits on a radon

belt. If you look at a radon map there’s a red belt that runs through

Tazewell County.”

In Tazewell County few people know about the risks of radon.

Marmagas and other researchers worked to educate the community

on radon. They also conducted a random sampling of homes and

found that over 50% had radon levels above the recommended

level. Others were significantly above.

If there is radon in a home, that home can be mitigated to reduce

the radon present. But radon mitigation is expensive, and the Virginia

Tech team recognized the cost would be a barrier for Tazewell County

families. Therefore, funds were raised to help cover the cost of

mitigation in homes that contained high levels of radon.

The work in Tazewell County continues as the Board continues

to seek partnerships that will improve the health of residents.

“We’ve had a healthcare issue in Tazewell County, and we’re

doing everything we can to address those things as far as facilities

and treatments and things like that go,” said Mike Thompson, the

economic development director. “Whenever we hear of anything

that needs our support, we’re always willing to help in any way we

possibly can. We’ll continue to do that in the future in hopes that

we’ll see the health issues in the county improve.”

Lydia Freeman is a teacher at KIPP ENC Public Schools in

Gaston, North Carolina where she pushes sixth graders to think

deeply and engage with historical, social and political spheres

while practicing reading and writing. She writes often, engages

deeply in conversation with friends, and strives to live purposefully

in her community.

Parking available adjacent to building

Phone 804-644-1702

FAX: 804-644-1703


Web Site:

hen it comes to events no one

throws a party like David Napier.

Known throughout Central Virginia for his

wonderful food and hospitality, David is

delighted to have opened his catering facility in

the heart of Shockoe Bottom. No event is too

small or large. Delicious Box Lunches delivered.


ne of Richmond’s most elegant dining

rooms is now exclusively available for your

private parties and special events. Our award

winning chefs produce an array of dishes from

steaks and seafood to vegetarian and

international masterpieces that will satisfy the

most discriminating palate. The Old City Bar

is the perfect place to celebrate.


Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems Building

Falls Mills