Thursday, December 20, 2012

Free radon test kits available

Watauga County predicted to have high radon in homes

EPA estimates that about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon is a form of ionizing radiation and a proven carcinogen. Lung cancer is the only known effect on human health from exposure to radon in air.
Radon is found in outdoor air and in the indoor air of buildings of all kinds. EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or more. The average concentration of radon in outdoor air is .4 pCi/L or 1/10th of EPA's 4 pCi/L action level.
Get a free radon test kit for your home at NC Cooperative Extension, 971 West King St. To learn more, go to

Friday, December 14, 2012

Give your Children A Free Gift

In “Make Time for Free Time”, retrieved from, the writer describes research supporting unstructured playtime for children.
Play is described as “equally important as other basic drives of sleep, rest and food”.  The article notes that all young mammals play.  Research is showing the many ways play helps the brain develop.  Benefits also include helping develop skills such as social skills/getting along with others, problem solving, making decisions, and thinking skills.

Some more from the article:
“A clinical report in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cited play as the right of every child, as defined by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. The report underlined the importance of play for normal child development….”
…..”Ironically, children have more toys than ever before. But the toys children enjoy today are quite different than in pre-television days. Until the 1950s, toys were simple – balls, baby dolls, teddy bears, chalk. Simpler toys required creative input from the child – imagination. Since toy companies began marketing directly to children in about 1955, toys come fully scripted – dolls with well known “personalities”, hand-held computers that lead the child through mazes developed in a lab, and educational games with right and wrong answers.”

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