Free radon test kits available through online classes

With many Georgians spending colder months indoors, it is important to test homes for radon, a colorless, odorless gas that is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, according to DeKalb County Cooperative Extension officials.

DeKalb County Cooperative Extension will host two virtual radon webinars on Dec. 6 from 11 a.m. to noon and 6 to 7 p.m. through which attendees will receive a free radon-in-air test kit.

“In DeKalb County, about 18.9 percent of homes have elevated levels of the naturally radioactive gas radon,” stated officials. “Over the course of many years, exposure to this gas can cause lung cancer, even in non-smokers. In fact, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Smokers, current and former, exposed to radon gas have an even greater risk of developing lung cancer.”

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rock.

“Often granite rock naturally has high levels of uranium, which is part of why radon is such a persistent problem in Georgia,” said officials. “The gas seeps out of the soil and up through crawlspaces, foundations, and basements into a home. About 800 Georgians die annually from radon-induced lung cancer.”

Fortunately, testing for radon gas is simple and inexpensive, stated officials. A short-term radon test is hung in the lowest level of the home for three to seven days before being mailed to the laboratory. The laboratory will then send the homeowner results after it processes the test kit. Tests can be obtained from the UGA Radon Program website at www.UGAradon.org or a hardware store.

“If the radon level in your home is high, you can install a radon reduction system,” stated officials “A radon reduction (or radon mitigation) system reduces high levels of indoor radon to acceptable levels. The system most frequently used is a vent pipe system and fan that pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside.”

Radon exposure from drinking water is also primarily a concern in private wells, said officials. “In Georgia, wells drilled into granitic crystalline rock aquifers, usually in the northern part of the state, are at risk of naturally occurring radon contamination. This is where the uranium that decays to radon can be found at higher levels,” according to UGA Radon Program website.

The UGA Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories in Athens tests water samples for the presence of radon. To get a water testing kit, contact a local UGA Extension office or call 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

Registration is required for the two free webinars. Visit https://bit.ly/DekalbRadon2022 to register.

For more information, contact the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension Office at (404) 298-4080, or visit https://extension.uga.edu/county-offices/dekalb.html.

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