Learning about
a part of nature


Nature connects all living things to the earth.
Sunlight helps plants turn energy into food.

Rain gives life to all creatures on earth.

Ocean tides keep the earth's water flowing.

        We depend upon the good things

        nature provides.

      But some things in nature can be harmful.

xlf a rattle snake strikes someone, they are hurt.

 If a tornado storms across a community, some
 homes might be torn down.

      If a volcano erupts, a village may be
      covered in lava.
           All of these things are part of the
           earth's natural balance.

               This balance is part of the
               wonder of our planet.


A gas called radon is also part of nature.

Radon is not something we can see, touch, or smell.

It is found in the earth's soil.

When homes, schools,  and stores are built on top of
the soil, we do not always know that radon is there.

But once we build these places, radon can come inside
-- just like the  wind comes inside when our windows
are open.

With help from scientists, we are able to measure how
much radon is in the soil, in our homes, or in our
         It's important to do a test to find out how
         much radon comes into each of our homes.

         Too much radon in a home can harm our

         Breathing radon is bad for us because it
         hurts our lungs.

         A simple test will show how much radon is
         in a home.




                                Two school children, Wanda Grey Wolf
                                and Lance Two Elk, tested their homes
                                for radon.

                                Their teacher, Miss Fernandez, gave
                                them a special tool called a charcoal
                                canister.  She explained that this
                                was only one kind of test kit that
                                could be used to measure radon.

That night Wanda and Lance explained the
test to their families.

They had to put the canisters in the lowest
part of their homes where people lived.

In Lance's house, this place was the basement.
In Wanda's house, it was her bedroom.
Before they went to bed they closed all the
doors and windows in their houses.

This way, the radon would not escape while it was being
measured in the canisters.

In the morning they took the tops off the canisters to
begin the tests. For 7 days and 7 nights they left the
canisters alone.  Wanda and Lance wanted to touch them
but they didn't. They knew that if they bothered the
canisters the  test would be ruined and they would have
to start all over again.


When the test was finally done, they put the tops
back on the canisters and took them to school.
Miss Fernandez helped them package the canisters
for mailing to a scientific laboratory.

The scientist studied the  canisters while Wanda
and Lance waited patiently for the results.




After a few weeks, Miss Fernandez told Wanda and
Lance that scientist had determined the amount of
radon in the air of both their homes.

The laboratory results showed that Wanda's home
had some radon in it, but only a small amount.

Even though he lived next door to Wanda, Lance's
results were not the same.  His home had too much
radon in it.

At first Lance felt scared because his home had a
lot of radon in it.

He did not want to go home. He was afraid and he
was mad at the earth for making radon a part of

But then Miss Fernandez told him that his house
could be fixed.

     Radon experts could work on Lance's house to
     reduce the amount of radon that could get in.

     Lance was happy that scientists  could help
     find a solution to this  problem.
     That night Lance and his family talked about
     how to fix their home.

Workers came to Lance's house one day when
Lance was on his way to school.

When he came home, Lance saw that the workers
had just finished installing a pipe.

Workers told him that the pipe acts like a
chimney. Instead of entering his home, the
radon escapes through the pipe to the outside


Lance was relieved that his home had been fixed
and that his family was safe, just like Wanda's.

Wanda and Lance were happy to learn a new way to
live in harmony with nature.


Learning about RADON a part of nature

United States Environmental Protection Agency
Indoor Environments Division (6609J)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

To learn more about radon, contact your local tribal health department or a state radon
program office. For a list of state contacts and more on radon, visit www.epa.gov/radon.
This document was prepared by the Western Regional Radon Training Center in
cooperation with the U.S. EPA. Acknowledgments to Milt Lammering, Denise Scheberle,
Dick Beardmore, Laura Smith, Ann Blackstone, Jim Reidhead, Patricia Joyce, and Greg