Middle school girl’s radon poster goes to nationals | RecordCourier.com

Middle school girl’s radon poster goes to nationals

Carson Valley Middle School students Sarah Farnham, Ana Marquez and Jacob Lewis swept the statewide radon poster contest.
Kurt Hildebrand

A score of residents turned out on a stormy Thursday night to learn about radon and to honor three Gardnerville school children for their posters about the deadly gas.

Carson Valley Middle School students Ana Marquez, Jacob Lewis and Sarah Farnham swept the top three spots in the state radon poster contest.

All three are students of teacher Lin Falker, who has had a very successful run of winners in the statewide contest.

Marquez’ poster will be entered in the National Radon Poster Contest.

This is the second radon education session the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has held in Douglas County.

Coordinator Susan Howe said around two dozen residents turned out in Genoa on Jan. 9 to hear about testing and fixing radon in their homes.

Of the 4,304 Douglas homes tested as of the end of 2018, 2,543 or nearly 41 percent tested above the limit for radon.

January is National Radon Action Month.

“We received proclamations naming January as National Radon Action Month from the towns of Gardnerville, Minden and Genoa, Gardnerville Ranchos GID and Douglas County Board of Commissioners,” Howe said. “We appreciate their support of our message to educate Nevadans about the radon health risk, encouraging residents to test, fix if results show elevated levels, and build new homes with radon-resistant new construction methods.”

The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Radon Education Program is offering free short-term radon test kits to Douglas County residents. Kits can be obtained at the Extension Office at 1325 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville across from Lampe Park, at the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District on Mitch Drive, at the Genoa Town Hall and at the offices of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in Stateline.

A third presentation in Douglas County will be Tuesday at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency offices, 128 Market St. in Stateline.

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It comes from the ground and can accumulate in homes, raising the risk of lung cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates 21,000 Americans die each year from radon-caused lung cancer, killing more people than secondhand smoke, drunk driving and house fires.

In Nevada, one in four homes tested show radon concentrations at or above the EPA action level. According to experts, living in a home with radon concentrations at the action level poses a risk of developing lung cancer similar to the risk posed by smoking about half a pack of cigarettes a day.

The risk of radon-caused lung cancer can be reduced. A three-day test can determine if a house has a radon problem, and winter is the best time to test a home for radon. If radon problems are found, they can be fixed.