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Radon in the News

Researchers Awarded $250,000 in Competitive Research Grants

The University of South Dakota, in Vermillion, SD, announced recently that three of the five grants from the state’s Competitive Research Grant Program have been awarded to USD faculty.

The grant program, managed by the South Dakota Board of Regents, invests in researchers to enhance the research capabilities and capacities of the state universities and benefits the state’s economic development. USD grant monies total $264,350. The recipients include:

Hongmin Wang – Role of Ubiguilin in Ischemic Stroke - $93,450 - Stroke is a leading cause of high mortality and long-term disability in the United States and is associated with excessive production of aberrant proteins. However, the effect of these aberrant proteins on nerve cell repair following strokes remains unclear. Dr. Wang’s research project proposes the study of the removal of aberrant proteins on the survival of nerve cells following stroke.

It's My Job: Home Inspector Scrutinizes Conditions from all Angles

It's My Job: Home Inspector Scrutinizes Conditions from all Angles

Fargo - Lars Knobloch likes to poke around what are often private areas in a home.

He peers into cabinets, crawls through attics, and scours the hidden recesses of basements.

It’s not that he’s nosy. It’s his job.

Knobloch does real estate inspections as well as testing for mold, asbestos, lead, radon and allergens through his business, Nordic Home Inspection.

“People save money on home inspections, really, because they will find things and they can negotiate with the seller,” Knobloch said. “I see more and more sellers are doing home inspections so they can show buyers the condition of the house. If there would be a major problem that would scare the potential buyers away, the seller could just take care of it.”

Knobloch moved to the area from Namsos, Norway, two years ago in March and started his business the beginning of last year.

Q: How has business been going?

A Doctor Who Must Navigate a Contentious Divide

After years of weighing in on issues like secondhand tobacco smoke and radon exposure, Dr. Jonathan Samet is accustomed to controversy.

And last week, Dr. Samet, a University of Southern California physician and epidemiologist, found himself at the center of debate again as chairman of a World Health Organization committee ruling on the health effects of cellphone use. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which consisted of 31 scientists from 14 countries, concluded that cellphones are “possibly carcinogenic,” putting the devices in the same category as about 260 chemicals, pesticides and other substances, including coffee, that might lead to certain cancers.

Cell-Phone Concerns Join Bigger Threats in Your Home

Cell-Phone Concerns Join Bigger Threats in Your Home

Today's reported link between cell-phone use and brain cancer is the latest salvo in a debate about whether gabbing on your cell phone poses health risks. But there's little argument about the health threats of radon, lead, arsenic, volatile organic compounds, and other hazards that lurk in most homes. Here are some tips—and products from Consumer Reports tests—that can help you find and conquer those issues.

Radon Gas: Do I Detect a Problem?

Radon Gas: Do I Detect a Problem?

This past March, Portland grocers found themselves in an unlikely scenario: There was a run on sea kelp. Locations like the New Seasons Market on Hawthorne were soon completely out, and a little sign promised that more would be ordered. Why had this happened? The answer was global. Portlanders were wondering if they would need the kelp—a natural source of iodine—to block the radioactive iodine spewing from the Fukushima reactors after the devastating earthquake and tsunamis hit Japan.

In the Nuclear Age, there is nothing like radioactivity to grab our attention. It is the ultimate hot topic. So could this be a good time to remind everyone of another threat —not from the sky—but from uranium decaying in the ground? Could this be the time to revisit the subject of radon gas?

Michigan Students Earn Top Honors in Science Fair

Michigan Students Earn Top Honors in Science Fair

GENESEE COUNTY, Michigan — Just one top prize would have been nice.

After 54 years of finding the area’s best young scientists, the Flint Regional Science Fair never had one of its participants bring home a first-place or best-in-category award from the international competition.

Not anymore.

Two of the five Genesee County-area students who participated in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles this month each brought home the two highest honors for their categories: first place and best in category.

Matthew Bauerle, a home-schooled 11th-grader from Oceola Township in Livingston County, and Nithin Tumma, a 17-year-old Port Huron Northern High School student, won the awards at what is dubbed the world’s largest high school science research competition.

Only twice in the competition’s history have two students from the same regional fair won the best-in-category award, fair officials said.

Indiana Child Care Facilities Improve Environmental Safety

TERRE HAUTE — Eleven Indiana child care facilities have boosted their efforts to protect children from environmental threats. Among them is Tender Moments Playhouse, a facility in Terre Haute that received five stars.

As members of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Five Star Environmental Recognition Program for Child Care Providers, these providers excel in their efforts to offer environmental conditions in their facilities that exceed minimum requirements.

“Children under the age of 6 are our most vulnerable population,” said IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly. “Participants in IDEM’s Five Star program deserve recognition for exceeding expectations to minimize children’s exposure to harmful contaminants. Any family considering their child care options should definitely consider these facilities first.”

Simple Safety Steps Can Eliminate Household Hazards

How safe is your home?

The Rockland County Department of Health says that June is Home Safety Month, a great time to take simple steps to make your dream home is free from possible safety nightmares.

“People often feel the most safe and comfortable in their own homes, but unfortunately, the home is also the place where many injuries occur,” said Dr. Joan Facelle, Rockland County Commissioner of Health. “Children and older adults often are at greatest risk for injuries at home. The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent injuries and improve you and your family's safety at home.”

Here are a examples of some steps to make the home safer for the entire family:

  • Watch young children whenever they’re near cooking areas and never leave food cooking on the stove if an adult is not in the room.
  • Lock cleaning supplies and medicines in cabinets out of the reach of children.

12 Ways To Keep Your Lungs Strong And Healthy

12 Ways To Keep Your Lungs Strong And Healthy

Check for radon

If you take good care of your lungs, they can last a lifetime. “The lungs are very durable if they’re not attacked from the outside,” says Norman H. Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Lung Association (ALA). With a few exceptions, your lungs don’t get into trouble unless you get them into trouble, he says.

However, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease, cancer and stroke. Here are 12 things you can do to keep your lungs healthy as you age.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in the ground. It typically leaks into a house through cracks in the foundation and walls. Radon is the main cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, and the second-leading cause of the disease after smoking.

Radon: Invisible Killer

Radon: Invisible Killer

Ginger Collins died of lung cancer in February. Her family believes the cause of Collins' disease can be attributed to exposure to radon, a colorless, odorless natural gas that is fairly common in Western Virginia.

PEARISBURG -- For more than 30 years, Ginger Collins worked, prayed and raised her three daughters in the ranch-style brick house she and her husband built atop Bunker Hill.

Little did she know that something inside her workplace, her refuge, her life, was slowly killing her.

Collins died in February of lung cancer. She was 58.

Thing is, "Mama never smoked a day in her life," said Collins' youngest daughter, Tina Steele.

Collins' family believes that their beloved mother, wife and sister fell victim to radon, a naturally occurring gas that is the No. 2 leading cause of lung cancer -- second only to cigarette smoke.