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Grand Forks receives grant for radon education in schools

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Reinvestment Fund is supporting health care officials, educators and community leaders in Grand Forks who will work to address the risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer by creating an education program for children.

The goal is to raise awareness of the cancer-causing gas so more people will test for it and mitigate the problem if levels are too high, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences professor Gary Schwartz said.

"Radon is really an invisible but very real health hazard for North Dakotans, and a lot of people don't know anything about it," he said.

Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced by decaying uranium in the earth. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., according to the according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

It's Time to Get Serious About Harmful Radon Exposure

Radon, a naturally-occurring invisible gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Twenty-one thousand Americans die from radon-induced lung cancer each year. You can't see, smell or taste radon, but it may be a problem in your home. The good news is that radon exposure is preventable. The American Lung Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are committed to fighting radon. Now, we're enlisting others to help take the fight to a whole new level -- because no one should have to suffer from preventable radon-caused cancer.

Reducing Radon Exposure a Personal Quest

Reducing Radon Exposure a Personal Quest

In 10 years, Dana Schmidt hopes to eliminate Castlegar’s radon problem through education and prevention.

When Schmidt’s wife, Donna, passed away of lung cancer two years ago, he took it upon himself to research different causes of the disease.

He found Castlegar had the highest rate of radon gas in the province (the first is Clearwater) and it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

He started the Donna Schmidt Memorial Radon Abatement Fund to inform people about the risk of radon and the effect of lung cancer and to help people detect radon in their homes.

Radon is a colourless, odorless and tasteless gas found in the granite and rock around Castlegar. It occurs naturally as the decay product of uranium and flows through gravel into the air.

Through testing, Schmidt says 46 per cent of Castlegar’s homes are above Canadian standards and 57 per cent are above U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.