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Pennsylvania Students Encouraged to Enter National Radon Poster Contest

Date Published: 09/18/2006 [Source]

Effort to Boost Awareness of Second-Leading Cause of Lung Cancer Deaths

HARRISBURG, Pa. Students can help spread an important public health message by participating in a national contest to raise awareness about radon, a colorless and odorless gas that is prominent in Pennsylvania and recognized as a leading cause of lung cancer.

"Many areas of Pennsylvania have high levels of radon, and we need to do all we can to encourage residents to test their homes for this potential danger," Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said. "This contest is an excellent way for students to learn more about this issue and help more families protect themselves."

The National Safety Council is sponsoring a radon poster contest in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

DEP, which has an extensive radon awareness program, is working with schools and youth programs to encourage participation in the effort. The effort builds on an initiative the department put in place earlier this year to expand the state's Newborn Radon Program with hospitals. New parents receive kits to test their homes to keep the infants safe.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. It enters homes through tiny cracks in basements and foundations, killing an estimated 22,000 people each year -- the second-leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the United States.

There is no way to know the radon level in a home without testing. Radon test kits typically cost about $25. For homes found to have radon, mitigation systems are available to quickly and significantly reduce levels.

Pennsylvania law requires anyone who tests or performs remediation work on a home other than the home in which they live must be certified by DEP.

For more information on radon, including testing and mitigation systems, visit http://www.depweb.state.pa.us, Keyword: "Radon," or call 1-800-23 RADON.