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      South Hero VT

      Radon, Taken Seriously

      January is National Radon Month, a great time to better understand this highly radioactive, odorless, colorless & tasteless gas that, given prolonged exposure, is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

      The United Nation's World Health Organization (WHO) states radon is a worldwide health risk in homes. Dr. Maria Neira of WHO said that "Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose exposures in people's homes. "  Click here for the World Health Organization's Handbook On Indoor Radon

      A Radon Electron Shell Diagram

      Here's a January Vermont Department of Health (802-863-7281)  Press Release on Radon:

      BURLINGTON - The winter heating season is the best time to test homes for radon, a colorless, odorless gas present at elevated levels in about one out of every seven homes in Vermont. Prolonged exposure to radon is the second leading cause (after smoking) of lung cancer in the United States, and is responsible for more than 20,000 deaths annually.

      The Health Department is encouraging Vermonters to test their homes for radon in January as part of National Radon Action Month.

      "Exposure to radon is preventable and fixable through proper venting techniques," said Austin Sumner, MD, State Epidemiologist for Environmental Health.

      The cost of having a certified professional properly ventilate a home can range from $800 to $2,500, depending on the home's characteristics.

      Radon gas can get into your home from the soil and the water supply. A house can act like a large chimney, with warm air rising and escaping out upper floor windows and through cracks in the attic. This creates a vacuum at the lowest level of the house, which can pull the radon from the soil into the house. Because radon levels can change daily, weekly and seasonally, a test of three to 12 months (ideally including a heating season) gives the most accurate measurement of exposure. Radon testing should be done in the lowest level of living space in the house.

      A Radon Electron Shell Diagram

      For a free long term test kit, email your request to Put the words "radon test kit" in the subject line of your email and be sure to include your name, phone number, and both your mailing and physical address, or call 1-800-439-8550.

      To obtain a short-term test kit for $25, contact the Vermont Health Department Laboratory at 863-7335 or 800-660-9997, or visit

      Kits also are available through (click on Explore, then Radon Education), or by e-mailing

      From the Wikipedia article on Radon: "Although radon exposure has only been conclusively linked to lung cancer, further studies may be needed to assess the relationship between radon and leukemia. The effects of radon if ingested are similarly unknown, although studies have found that its biological half-life ranges from 30-70 minutes, with 90 percent removal at 100 minutes. It has also been shown that radon progeny can attach itself to the smoke of cigarettes, which then become lodged within the lungs. It is considered likely that the combination of smoking and radon exposure increase risk synergistically."

      The Environmental Protection Agency is a great source of information on Radon including their publication, A Citizen's Guide to Radon in which radon test levels are addressed. "The average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L, and about 0.4 pCi/L of radon is normally found in the outside air. The U.S. Congress has set a long-term goal that indoor radon levels be no more than outdoor levels. While this goal is not yet technologically achievable in all cases, most homes today can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or below."

      Professional Radon Mitigation has been shown to effectively reduce the concentration of Radon and Vermont Radon Mitigation Specialists guarantee the house will re-test below the recommended EPA levels following the installation of the vacuum based ventilation systems.

      The map below is from the EPA and shows all but two Vermont counties have a Zone 2 predicted average indoor radon screening level of between 2 and 4 pico curies per liter.  Chittenden & Grand Isle Counties are Zone 3 with less than 2 pCi/L and are classified as low potential zones. None of the Vermont counties are in red Zone 1, which averages over 4 pCi/L.

      For more information on Radon, connect to www.maple, email or call toll-free 800-525-7965 with questions.

      A Radon Electron Shell Diagram

      Applefest 2009. South Hero, VT

      applefest tap dancing stretch e

      Sunday, 11 October.

      rose apple double

      Ribbons of rain parting, the crisp pre-snow blue skies break through just as we cross the causeway from mainland Vermont to South Hero, gateway to the Champlain Islands.

      Eastern facing shoreline dotted with second homes, camps and easy life. Banner supreme announcing Applefest, beckon and call to far flung tourists looking for something sweet and inspirational. A joker in a go cart tooting his mini horn down the aisle of South Street, followed by John Deere, gawkers in wagon tow.

      Caramel aromas, candied corn and Hackett's Orchard Cider donuts, hot dogs and pretzels, soup in a bread bowl, the world famous deep fried Bloomin' Onion.

      World famous bloomin' onion

      Irresistible country rhyme and tune, brisk wind, latent summer radiant sunshine beaming through the peaking crimson & gold maple leaves.

      One decked out drummer sitting in for the Fox Band, electric guitars, threads to die for and a winsome smile. Great energy, good gigs and so much to look back on.

      Fox Drummer e

      Canadian Thanksgiving, since 1990, some 20,000 folk trapse down Apple Alley; stall, tag sale, antiques, sign purveyor, fiddle player, drummer, exotic goat, the tap dancer. Apple orchard promenade, pony rides, live bees, purveyors of honey, maple syrup, all the fixin's.

      peddlin' honey ee

      Such a carnival, the blueberry boy thrown in the drink mercilessly by the kid with the good arm who peggs the metal plate target with just one throw, cold hearted, cold plunge. Somehow we missed the famed St. Rose of Lima apple pancake breakfast, ought to next year.

      In the mean time, if you'd like to live in, buy a house or pick up a second home in South Hero, surf away at or jet off an e-mail describing what you'd like to find and you can expect a prompt reply.

      taking the plunge e

      candy apple