Colorless, odorless radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and causes around 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year. While some have known about the dangers of radon for a long time, the public as a whole has just recently learned about the effects and presence of radon in their homes. We encourage people to test their homes and take action, and today, the Keystone ETS team wants to highlight local efforts to reduce radon gas exposure in communities around the country.
Local Efforts to Reduce Radon
These two stories highlight individuals who went beyond their usual work to keep their communities safe from radon.
Deborah Clinebell, a junior high science teacher in Waterloo, Illinois, spent a chemistry lecture talking about the environmental and health risks of radon. She discussed lung cancer risks and high state radon levels. Her students were highly interested, and as such, Deborah expanded this lesson into more than a chemistry lecture.
She and her students wrote letters to school families, convincing around 200 families to test their homes for radon. Deborah and her colleague, math teacher Carrie Stewart, joined the students for an experiment. The group compiled and analyzed indoor radon data of the recently rested homes. The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign collaborated with the school to give students access to geographic information system (GIS) technology. GIS allowed the students to create maps and see the distribution of radon in the area.
A simple lecture by a science teacher turned into several interdisciplinary projects. The students learned about data analysis, the scientific method, and environmental policy advocacy. Deborah’s work is a shining example of just one of the many local efforts to reduce radon.
Building Radon-Resistant Habitats for Humanity
Jennifer Langton, an Environmental Resources Specialist at Habitat for Humanity International, first learned about the dangers of radon when she read about the Healthy Homes Program by the EPA. Seeing how reducing radon connected with the broader goal of Habitat for Humanity, Jennifer began her mission to educate the Habitat community on radon and Reducing Radon in New Construction (RRNC) techniques.
Jennifer arranged the Southern Regional Radon Training Center to present information on RRNC techniques to Habitat. She began presenting the importance of installing proper radon mitigation systems in new homes to Habitat construction staff. Although she ran into a lack of funding, Jennifer persevered and collaborated with the Alabama Extension Service’s Radon program to utilize RRNC construction in 35 new houses.
Jennifer’s mission to promote radon reduction as a crucial part of home building and construction highly affected Habitat for Humanity. Before her work, Habitat considered radon a separate issue from the initial construction. Now Habitat routinely covers additional costs to prevent radon presence in new homes in areas with known high radon concentrations. The impact of a well-known organization taking more efforts to keep people safe from radon is hard to overstate.
Contact Keystone ETS to Help Test Your Home
In Pennsylvania, we have noted local efforts to reduce radon through a push to have mandatory radon testing for schools. One of the ways you can get involved is by testing your own home to keep your family safe. Then, spread awareness, encourage others to do the same. Our certified, specially trained technicians provide accurate testing and work with homeowners to install the best radon mitigation system to keep them safe. To radon test your home, or for more information, contact Keystone ETS today