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SPOTLIGHT
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Extension programs reveal facts about radon

Published on -1/31/2013, 9:45 AM

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You can't see it, taste it or smell it. It doesn't cause headaches or sinus irritation. You don't even know it's there, but it has the potential to do serious harm.

No, it's not the exotic poison used in your new mystery novel. It's radon -- a radioactive soil gas that moves from the ground under and around a home through cracks and crevices in the foundation to collect inside.

Why all the concern about radon? Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America, after cigarette smoking. Nearly one out of every four homes in Kansas could have elevated radon levels, but levels can vary even from home to home in the same neighborhood.

As health concerns about radon increase, the Kansas Radon Program at Kansas State University can help to shed some light on the elusive danger. Next week, Brian Hanson, radon program coordinator, will be in Hays to present two programs about radon Feb. 8. A free public information program will be during the noon hour that day, followed by a four-hour continuing education course for real estate professionals and those who do radon measurement and mitigation. The cost of the professional training is just $5 for materials and refreshments. Both classes are sponsored by the Ellis County Extension office.

The noon-hour program for the general public will provide basic information about radon, its health effects, how to test and what to do about radon. The public program will begin at noon Feb. 8 at the Extension office meeting room, 601 Main. Bring a lunch if desired; beverages will be provided.

The four-hour training in-depth course for professionals will follow from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m., also at the Extension office meeting room.

Pre-registration for both radon classes is requested by Friday. A minimum attendance is needed for each class. Call the Ellis County Extension office at (785) 628-9430 or email el@listserv.ksu.edu to register. Real estate professionals are asked to include their license number for continuing education credit. The registration brochure for real estate professionals is available from the Hays Board of Realtors or the Extension office website at www.ellis.ksu.edu.

The only way to know if there is radon in a home is to test. Winter is the best time for testing when homes are closed up from outside air. An inexpensive radon screening kit is available for $5.50 at the Ellis County Extension office. The self-mailer kit includes full instructions for completing the test and returning it to the lab for analysis.

Radon is an environmental health hazard you can act against. Why ignore it? Plan to attend these radon training classes from K-State Research and Extension to learn more.

Linda Beech is a Kansas State University Research & Extension agent in Ellis County specializing in family and consumer sciences.

lbeech@ksu.edu

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