Household radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., 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 asks students to share the program’s message: Radon testing 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. The gas seeps up through foundations and accumulates in homes. Radon can be a problem throughout the state, but residents typically see higher levels 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 testing for radon couldn’t be easier. Test kits are available statewide at some UGA Cooperative Extension offices or online at www.ugaradon.org.
The key is to raise Georgians’ awareness of this potential hazard in their homes, said Pamela Turner, a healthy-housing specialist for UGA Extension and associate professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS).
“Radon is just not on enough people’s radars,” Turner said. “Working with students, we hope to raise their awareness, and maybe they’ll carry the message home with them to their parents. Testing for radon is easy but it’s a matter of getting people to take that first step.”
To help get the word out, the UGA Radon Education Program asks 9- to 14-year-old students across the state each year to design a poster to help alert the general public about the dangers of radon and steps they can take to keep their families safe. The top three winners receive prizes, and they’re entered into the national contest. Their art may be used in future public awareness campaigns.
During the 2017-18 school year, nearly 200 students submitted posters. Charlotte Moser, a seventh-grade student at Clarke Middle School in Athens, Georgia, won first prize for her horror-movie-inspired poster of a radon cloud enveloping a castle.
Exact dates for the 2018-19 school year contest, submission forms and instructions will be sent out in August. The deadline for entries is Oct. 5, 2018.
Students should first research the dangers of radon on the FACS website at www.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 homes?
- Radon can cause lung cancer.
- Test your home for radon.
State winners will be notified in November, and national winners will be notified by December. Winners will be honored in January 2019 during National Radon Action Month.
For more information and contest promotional materials, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706-542-9165.