You can’t see it, taste it, or smell it. You don’t even know that it’s there, but it has the potential to do serious harm. Radon! – a radioactive soil gas which 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 may 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 this elusive danger. Brian Hanson, Radon Program Coordinator, will be in Hays on March 10 to present two programs about radon. A free three-hour continuing education course for real estate professionals will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. A one-hour public information program will be held at 5:15 p.m. The program for the general public will provide basic information about radon, its health effects, how to test and what to do about radon.

Pre-registration for either radon class is requested by March 5. The registration brochure for real estate professionals is available from the Hays Board of Realtors or the Extension Office. To receive credit for the “Radon for Real Estate Professionals” course realtors must have their realtors license number at registration.

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. A radon screening kit is available at the Extension Office for $6.50. The self-mailer kit includes full instructions for completing the test and returning it to the lab for analysis. Participants at the 5:15 p.m. public meeting will receive a free radon test kit.

Berny Unruh is the Family and Community Wellness Agent for the Cottonwood Extension District. She can be reached at 785-628-9430 or at

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