The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is reminding Wyoming families to test homes for radon to see if a potentially dangerous health risk exists, while also announcing winners of a recent radon awareness poster contest.
Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless and dangerous gas found in many places, including homes. Radon occurs naturally as a radioactive gas released from the element radium and is found in rocks, soil and water.
“As radium in the soil naturally degrades, it can seep up into homes, get trapped inside and build in intensity,” said Star Jones, Wyoming Cancer Program outreach and education supervisor. “All homes have radon; however, with higher levels, the risks become a health concern.”
“Radon is recognized as the second leading cause of lung cancer,” Jones said. “Ongoing exposure to higher, more dangerous radon levels can be reduced with testing and home modifications.”
To encourage awareness of radon-related risks, WDH recently invited students to enter a poster contest. First place winners will receive $200 with $100 for second place. Teachers of the winning students receive $100 in classroom supplies. Winners this year include:
First place: Faith Hinton, Sheridan (5th grade)
Second place: Lohla Stevens, Casper (5th grade)
First place: Emma Beazley, Dubois (9th grade)
Second place: Charlize Gonda, Sheridan (7th grade)
An elevated level of radon is considered anything over 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter of air) and should be fixed. Jones said while there is no safe radon level, reducing exposure to the gas can also reduce the linked risk of cancer.
The Wyoming Cancer Program has low-cost radon test kits available for purchase. For more information, to obtain a radon test kit, or to view the winning poster entries, please visit www.health.wyo.gov/publichealth/prevention/cancer/radon.