Now that my family has moved into our new house, the next month’s posts will focus on issues we’ve been dealing with throughout this move. For the next two weeks I’ll explain radon.
Though a toxic gas, radon has a special place in my heart. I cut my journalistic teeth on radon back in college. Quite often, Accidentally Green exposés remind me of how my love of helping people through investigative journalism began.
During a required earth science class taken in my senior year, my lab partner and I conducted research on radon levels around campus. It was an easy project – we put test units in a handful of buildings and then gathered the results. While some buildings had very low amounts of radon, a few levels in the dormitories were dangerously high. We turned in our report, received an A, and that was that.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about the students in the polluted dorm rooms. Their tuition dollars were hard at work – while the students were breathing in cancer-causing vapors in their sleep. As an editor of the college newspaper, I knew it was a huge story.
So I dug in. I spent hours researching radon. I interviewed science professors, the school’s service director, and the college president. I wrote and edited and rewrote and edited and rewrote my stories. Every time I discovered important new information, I felt a definite high. I knew journalism was for me.
When the stories broke, it was obvious the radon levels were a BIG DEAL. A local television station picked up the story and aired it on the 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock news. The college hired professionals to investigate the problem and spent millions of dollars mitigating radon. All because of one little science project and a senior journalism major.
I’m humbled that God could use me to help keep students a little healthier at my alma mater. And I’m blown away that my stories made an impact that cost millions of dollars. (I bet the cost of student housing increased right away!)
But I think my favorite part of the entire radon story is how God used it to reveal to me that that was my calling. I’m such an unlikely candidate for investigative journalism, but the research and discovering and writing just scratches an itch deep within me. That’s exactly why I spend hours upon hours working on Accidentally Green – I have to. I’m also relieved I’m able to use these abilities to try to bring healthier changes to my family. (Your family, too.)
So … back to radon.
I’ve shared that long explanation of my ties to radon to give you a background to my latest situation. Imagine my surprise when we had a radon test in our new house, and the levels were not safe. When our inspector gave his report, I knew right away what picocuries per liter were all about, and why we needed to mitigate the problem before we moved in.
If radon’s in my house, I know it’s in other houses, too – maybe even yours. And because the gas is invisible and odorless, it’s tough to get motivated to get it checked and mitigated. Over the next two weeks I’ll explain all about radon, and I’ll share the importance of correcting radon problems.
If you’re a home owner, have you had your home checked for radon levels? What did you discover?
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