Published on 01/03/13

UGA experts available to discuss radon risks for National Radon Action Month

By Merritt Melancon

University of Georgia experts are available to provide commentary during Radon Action Month, which is designated by the Environmental Protection Agency in January.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer overall in the U.S. Radon is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year; that’s more deaths than caused by drunk driving. In Georgia it causes about 800 lung cancer deaths each year.

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 problems can be fixed, and new homes can be built with radon-resistant construction techniques.

Testing is the only way radon can be detected since it cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. Test kits are $8 at local UGA County Extension offices or $10 if ordered via the mail at

Follow the testing kit’s instructions exactly, but generally the kit should hang in your home for three to seven days, absorbing the radon in the air. The kit is mailed to a laboratory where it is analyzed, and the results then are sent to the homeowner.

Any result of 4.0 pCi/L or above is considered high by the EPA and should be fixed. The EPA reports that nationally one out of every 15 homes tested for radon will be high. In North Georgia, approximately two out of every 15 homes tested will be elevated. Contact information for UGA radon experts is listed below. For more information, contact UGA News Service at 706/542-8083 or

Becky Chenhall, program specialist in UGA's Radon Education Program, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, (770) 267-1324,

With more than 10 years experience in radon education, Chenhall works in Athens and in the Walton County Extension office. She has participated in the National Environmental Health Association's National Radon Proficiency Program, in which she completed training and certification for both radon mitigation and radon measurement.

Pamela R. Turner, director, UGA Radon Program, associate professor and Extension housing specialist, College of Family and Consumer Sciences Department of Housing and Consumer Economics, (706) 542-9165,

As the director of UGA's radon program, Turner's research has been centered on radon, lead poisoning and natural remedies, and green and healthy housing. She provides a variety of outreach services in the areas of green cleaning, reducing indoor contaminants, housing education, weatherization, energy and water conservation, reducing radon, and rethinking waste.

Instructional videos and more radon information can be found at www.georgiafaces.caes

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