The Minnesota Departments of Public Safety and Health are teaming up to bring awareness to the dangers of radon. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Any home, regardless of its size or location, can pull up radon gases from the ground. Many people might be breathing in these deadly gases and never know. We hope this informational video will motivate you to get a radon test kit.
We talked to James Kelly, M.S., Supervisor for the Indoor Air Unit and asked a few questions about the video. In addition, we inquired as to other efforts that have taken place during the 2012 National Radon Action Month. First, we asked how the video came about and requested more information on how he was able to get the Commissioners of Public Safety on camera. His response was the following:
You can't see it, smell it, or taste it in your home but there may be dangerous levels or radon lurking in your house.
About twenty-one thousand Americans die each year from lung cancer caused from radon. The month of January is National Radon Action month and the EPA and U.S. Surgeon General are encouraging everyone to test their homes, businesses, and schools.
"I see a lot of people with cancer. Probably once every two weeks I'm in somebody's home that has had cancer and don't have an explanation for it, in particular lung cancer and have come to find out that their radons high," said Kevin Siers, owner of KSA Radon Services.
Other prevention techniques the EPA is promoting this month are spreading the word and attending a radon awareness event in our area.
Learn more about how you can raise awareness!
Thank you to everyone who participated in online voting for the National Radon Poster Contest! We appreciate your excitement for the contest and help in selecting this year’s winners. Over 160 votes were cast during the online voting period. This year’s award for first place goes to Maison, age 13, from Provo, Utah. Congratulations, Maison!
View all four prize-winning posters at www.sosradon.org.
Poster contest nominees were chosen based on a wide variety of criteria, including:
- Content accuracy
- Visual communication of topic
During National Radon Action Month, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) and Cheaha Regional Head Start led educational workshops for parents, volunteers and staff. The workshops emphasized the importance of radon testing and encouraged attendees to take action and test their homes for radon.
For the past five years, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has generated radon awareness by providing test kits to local public health and non-profit organizations. This year MDH outdid previous efforts as they were able to distribute 8,250 short term radon test kits throughout Minnesota!
Using State Indoor Radon Grant (SIRG) funding from EPA, MDH shipped radon test kits and outreach materials to partner organizations in approximately half of the counties in the state. MDH partners then distributed the kits to local residents using the outreach materials to raise awareness in their communities. Partners were able to sell the test kits to generate revenue and cover their staff costs for this effort.
Cortland County Environmental Health Distributes 6,500 Radon Newsletters as Backpack Flyers to all County K-12 Students
The Cortland County Environmental Health Department, of Cortland, New York, has a long history of working with local school districts and private schools to share important messages about health safety. Last January it was able to take the message of radon risk prevention to over 6,500 community students and teachers! Using the funding provided by their current State Indoor Radon Grant from EPA, Cortland County was able to create flyers promoting awareness of environmental issues, then print and distribute those flyers in classrooms throughout the county.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is a pro at using screensavers to get out life-saving messages to their employees, so when they decided to promote radon testing they knew exactly how to reach their staff. KDHE installed a default PowerPoint on each computer that automatically scrolls through a variety of photos and graphics when a computer is briefly unused. The PowerPoint image that each staff member saw on their computer read “Test Your Home. Protect Your Health.”
Click here to view the PowerPoint.
After implementing the screensaver, many KDHE employees inquired about to get test kits more information about radon. It was a successful, free outreach method that educated KDHE’s staff about the danger of radon and got them into action to protect their families.
The Hackensburg Health Department, in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP) Radon Program, developed an electronic signboard to promote January as National Radon Action Month (NRAM). This idea came from the annual materials that NJDEP’s Radon Program sends to local health departments in advance of NRAM. With the help of Hackensburg’s mayor, city hall and city manager, the electronic signboard was displayed just outside of City Hall.
The signboard (shown to the left) featured a lighted commercial display that could be programmed with custom messages such as “TEST & FIX HOMES TO SAVE A LIFE.” The NJDEP Radon Program’s toll-free number was also displayed so residents of the Hackensburg community could call with any inquiries.
The Nevada Radon Education Program, under the direction of Susan H. Howe, produces a wide array of outreach items on a yearly basis to spread the radon message. Examples of some of these efforts include door tags, engaging radon Public Service Announcements (PSAs), news articles, educational programs, street banners and massive amounts of educational displays and posters.
This year in particular, a different sort of outreach effort took place at the Nevada Day event. Radon activist Denise Uber (pictured) dressed up as the “Radon Fairy” to educate people about the harmful effects of radon. Uber is a strong advocate for radon awareness. She previously had her home mitigated, appeared in local newspapers and is a continued supporter of the Nevada Radon Education Program.
In support of National Radon Action Month 2012, Beverly Jo Carswell of Alabama’s Office of Radiation Control, Radon Program teamed up with certified radon mitigator George Brickley to educate Northern Alabama code officials. Ms. Carswell discussed the health issues associated with radon gas. Mr. Brickley provided information on the radon mitigation process and what radon codes could be adopted to reduce the radon health risk to occupants. The presentation was followed by a well-received question and answer session. Code officials asked insightful questions covering topics ranging from the electrical requirements of mitigation to the costs of running a radon fan.