Household radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, but the hazards of this dangerous gas are still relatively unknown to many Georgia families.
That’s why the University of Georgia Radon Education Program is asking students to get the message out: Testing for radon is easy and could save someone’s life.
Radon is a gas released by the natural decay of uranium deposits contained in Georgia’s granite bedrock. It seeps up through foundations and accumulates in homes. Radon can be a problem anywhere in the state, but higher levels are typically seen in the upper third of Georgia due to the soil conditions and granite bedrock.
The good news is that radon problems can be fixed and that testing for radon couldn’t be easier because test kits are available throughout the state at UGA Cooperative Extension offices and online at ugaradon.org.
The trick is raising people’s awareness of this potential hazard in their homes, said Gabrielle Walters, a radon educator with the UGA Extension Radon Education Program.
To help get the word out, the UGA Radon Education Program asks 9- to 14-year-olds across the state each year to design a poster to help alert the general public about the dangers of radon and how they can keep their families safe. This year students can win up to $100 for their designs, which may be used in future public awareness campaigns. The deadline for entries is September 30, 2015.
Students should first research the dangers of radon on the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension website at ugaradon.org. They can then create a poster on one of five themes:
- What is radon?
- Where does radon come from?
- How does radon get into our home?
- Radon can cause lung cancer.
- Test your home for radon.
Winners will be notified in November and may have the chance to meet Gov. Nathan Deal during Radon Awareness Month in January.
For more information about testing for radon or the poster contest please visit ugaradon.org.
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)