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UGA Extension Provides Test Kits for Radioactive Radon Gas

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January is national Radon Action Month and University of Geoergia Extension is working to help Georgians protect their homes from the gas.

Most people don’t consider the dangers of radon in their homes, but the radioactive element is the second leading cause of lung cancer. It’s the number one source for nonsmokers.

Radon, which is a breakdown product of uranium, causes about 21,000 deaths in the U.S. and 800 deaths a year in Georgia.

UGA Extension Educator Derek Cooper says the invisible, odorless, tasteless gas is more of a problem in north Georgia than the rest of the state.

“Radon is a breakdown product of uranium and uranium is built up in high levels in granite usually, so if you think about Stone Mountain and of our granite features in Georgia, the northern half of the state has a ton of it,” According to Cooper.

“The source can actually be up to 200 feet below your home and can still cause an issue.”

Cooper’s office provides home tests kits for the gas.

“These kits are basically little envelopes that you hang in your home for three to seven days and they absorb breakdown products of radon. Once you’re done, you take off the sticky tape and you drop it in a mailbox and send it to a lab and they’ll tell you the levels of radon in your home.”

For more information, or to order a $13 test kit, visit www.ugaradon.org, of you can call Derek Cooper 706-583-0602.

One positive note, Cooper says granite counter tops and other items in homes don’t pose a tangible risk. The major source is radon under home.

The average cost of repairs to fix the problem is around $1200, but costs can range from $800 to $2500.

In Clarke County, about 1,875 tests have been conducted, and 231, or about 12%, were found to have elevated radon.

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