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Muhlenberg College aims to educate public about effects of radon

Date Published: 01/31/2020 [Source]

Early Friday afternoon Muhlenberg College students Meray Faragalla, Brin Cardonik, along with Assistant Professor of Public Health Chrys Cronin, discussed results of a recent four-year study on radon.

"Number 1 thing we take from the study is the importance of accessibility of info," Faragella said.

Radon, first discovered in the 1980s in Berks County, is a colorless, odorless, tasteless natural gas stemming from uranium in the soil. It easily seeps into homes but can be remediated. Officials say it causes 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. It's ripe in the region.

The highest levels ever recorded were found in a home in Coopersburg back in 2016.

Cronin initiated the study.

"I looked at some of the social determinants such as ethnicity, income level, education etc," said Cronin.

They found a huge disparity of those who identified as Hispanic as never hearing of radon, compared to non-Hispanics.

"How big is Spanish on the homepage?" WFMZ's Bo Koltnow asked the students.

"We thought it was the most important part of the website," they said.

The students designed Radonlehighvalley.org to include information in Spanish. They also started a LANTA bus campaign in both languages.

However Cardonik said it wasn't just Hispanics who hadn't heard of radon.

"When we got the information after interviewing the health-care providers, what surprised me was that they didn't really know a lot about radon, and some of them had never heard of it before," said Cardonik.

The mission now is not only to educate the public and legislators, but health officials too.

"If radon was blasted like the coronavirus has in the last week people would pay more attention to it," Cronin said.