Family & Consumer Science
UGA Extension Gwinnett County has a long tradition of helping individuals and families over their life span and strengthening communities through educational programs. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for individuals and families. We want to help Georgians meet new challenges in a changing environment. We focus on our clients' economic and social well-being through programs that help people extend their income, improve their health, and strengthen their personal and family relationships. Whether you are raising a family, making a living, trying to cook and eat nutritiously, or making important buying decisions, UGA Extension Gwinnett County has resources available.
Radon: Why It's Time to Test your Home if You Live in Gwinnett County
According to data from the University of Georgia Radon Education Program, homes in Gwinnett County have a 22% - 28% chance of having an elevated level of radon. This can happen in any kind of home with any type of construction, including slab on grade, crawlspace, and homes with basements.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can be harmful after extended exposure to high levels. Because people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, typically at home or work, they can be exposed to elevated levels.
It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rocks and water. Uranium is often found in areas with high levels in granite, which is readily present throughout Georgia, especially in the northern half of the state. As the gas migrates up through the soil, it can enter a building and concentrate indoors.
Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for nonsmokers, and the second leading cause overall, behind tobacco smoke. Radon is a colorless and odorless gas and is responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths per year, with over 800 of those deaths in Georgia. Luckily, testing for radon is easy and exposure to radon is preventable.
Test kits are available at the Gwinnett County Extension office and by ordering online at www.UGAradon.org. Kits purchased in-office cost $10 and kits purchased online cost $15. They include the kit, shipping, lab analysis, and results.
If the radon level in your home is elevated, you can install a radon reduction system. A radon reduction (or radon mitigation) system reduces high levels of indoor radon to acceptable levels. The most commonly used system is a vent pipe system and fan that pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside.
Another source of radon exposure is from drinking water that comes from private wells. In Georgia, wells drilled into granitic crystalline rock aquifers, usually in the northern part of the state, are at risk of naturally occurring radon contamination. If you don’t know whether there is radon in your well water, have the water tested. The UGA Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories in Athens tests water samples for the presence of radon. To get a water testing kit, contact your local UGA Extension office or call 1-800-ASK-UGA1.
To learn more about radon and what you can do to keep yourself and your family safe go to www.UGAradon.org.
Carbon Monoxide Gas In Your Home
Dangerous gas may be lurking inside your home. Most people are familiar with carbon monoxide (CO). This deadly gas is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. Each year, unintentional CO poisoning results in over 400 deaths in the U.S. There are several sources of CO in your home. These include fuel-burning appliances like water heaters, heating systems, space heaters, generators, and fumes from vehicles idling in an attached garage. The most common warning signs of CO poisoning are headache, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath and confusion. If someone is displaying these symptoms, get them outside the house immediately then call 911. There are several simple things you can do to prevent CO poisoning. One of the most important things is to install a battery operated CO detector or one with battery backup near sleeping areas. You should also have your heating system inspected annually by trained service technicians.