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University of Georgia honored in EPA's Eighth Annual Clean Air Excellence Awards

Release Date: 06/04/2008
Contact Information: Dawn Harris Young, EPA Media Relations, (404)562-8421

(Atlanta, Ga. - May June 4, 2008) What do two California ports, a company that produced the first diesel electric hybrid tugboat, and a University in Georgia have in common? All are dedicated to excellence in achieving clean air, and they are among the 11 winners of the eighth annual Clean Air Excellence Awards. This year's award winners are recognized by EPA for their outstanding accomplishments in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

There are four categories of awards: clean air technology, community action, education/outreach, and regulatory policy innovations, with one additional special award for individual achievement.

This year’s winner in Georgia for education/outreach is the University of Georgia (UGA) College of Family and Consumer Sciences. The University's Georgia Radon Education Program prevents radon-induced lung cancer through education, testing, and the reduction of radon in indoor air.

Since 2003, the UGA Radon Education Program has worked to reduce lung cancer by promoting radon awareness through education, testing, and reducing high radon levels in indoor air. Radon, the second-leading cause of lung cancer, kills approximately 600 Georgians per year. The UGA Program encourages collaboration and partnerships with hospitals, schools, media outlets, and builders.

The program specifically targets children, who are especially susceptible to radon due to their body size and breathing level. From March 2003 through March 2007, UGA met with more than 35,000 people and distributed more than 22,000 radon test kits. Overall, the program has reached out to more than 145,000 people.

The program’s success has also been demonstrated through the actions and behaviors of the participants. As many as 163 homes have performed home radon mitigations and 273 families have adopted radon-resistant new construction. The medical savings of these radon mitigations and outreach efforts is estimated at nearly $10 million. The UGA Radon Education Program is an effective and easily replicable program that greatly impacts the health and wellness of the community.

The Clean Air Excellence Awards recognize and honor outstanding, innovative efforts that make progress in achieving cleaner air. The awards were established in 2000, at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC), a senior-level policy group that advises EPA on implementing the Clean Air Act.

For more information about this year's awards ceremony, visit: epa.gov/air/caaac/recipients.html