There were about three dozen residents who came to hear about radon last night, from myself and Richard Seifert. Rather than have a typical slideshow, it was more of a discussion. Richard shared personal motivation(s) of what got him into testing his own home and the alarm he found when the concentration of radon gas was well over the EPA’s action level recommendation of 4 pico curies of radon gas per liter of air. He also shared information of how the outreach program had beginnings in Juneau with the nuclear medicine staff running the program in the late 1980’s (before oversight was transferred to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation as an indoor air quality issue).
Though Ilya Benesch from the Cold Climate Housing Research Center was not present, his video (on the Cooperative Extension YouTube site) was shown on how to build a home in Fairbanks with the essential materials in place to evacuate radon out of a home after the build is finished, if necessary. Personal stories from several people were shared- some telling of successful mitigation, and another of years long battle with mitigating radon so that it would fall below the EPA’s action level.
There was also time to show a number of resources. Each person present received a colored EPA zone chloropleth map showing the counties/boroughs in relation to each other as far as radon concentrations (in an aggregate sense). The Extension publication, Understanding Testing for and Mitigating Radon (RAD-00760), was handed out as well as a tour given of where to find it in the online catalog. And the leader item, long term radon test kits were given out. Though these kits could not be utilized for a full year due to early expiration, they all were sufficient to provide at least a 90 day sample- which is the minimum required by the testing lab in order to receive results.
In general, it was a well attended, lively hour and a half session. But if you were not able to attend, you can call me at 907-474-6366 for any additional information or technical assistance on radon. And remember, the ONLY way you can know if you have radon (the second leading cause of lung cancer) is to TEST.