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The City Journals

Taylorsville citizen committee focused on reducing a leading cancer cause

Mar 28, 2017 04:27PM ● By Bryan Scott

Radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in Utah. (

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]


The Utah Department of Environmental Quality reports:

  • One out of every three homes in our state has elevated levels of radon; and
  • Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers across Utah

The website reports the federal Environmental Protection Agency—and the Surgeon General’s Office—estimate as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths are cause each year by radon. And radon-induced lung cancer costs the United States more than $2 billion dollars per year in direct and indirect health care costs.

These alarming statistics recently prompted the Taylorsville City Public Safety Committee to go into the retail business—at a loss.

“We sold 128 radon gas detector kits to area residents for $4.50 apiece, about half what they cost us,” said committee Chairman Tony Henderson.

And at a recent city council meeting he told elected officials he wants to keep doing it.

“Last year, the council provided our committee $1,000 to buy the radon detectors, at a cost of about $9 each,” Henderson added. “Even selling them at a discount, we’ve raised about $570, which we would like to spend on more kits.”

Henderson has been a member of the city’s Public Safety Committee since just after Taylorsville was incorporated more than 20 years ago. The committee has addressed numerous issues, to help make city residents safer.

The Hill Air Force Base software developer said selling radon test kits is just the most recent step in that effort.

“Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, produced through the earth’s natural decay,” Henderson said. “You can’t taste or smell it, but it kills people. A big part of (the committee’s) job is to educate the public about potential dangers. So, we’ve worked to do that as much as anything, while selling the kits.”

To that end, Public Safety Committee members have placed posters—describing the hazards of radon gas—at senior centers, recreation centers and other public places throughout Taylorsville.

Committee members have also discussed radon dangers at several community meetings.

Longtime committee member Peggy Sadler said it’s been a worthwhile effort.

“One of our committee’s most important goals is to provide information to citizens to assist them in promoting safety,” she said. “This (selling the detection kits) falls into that category, and I was surprised how quickly we sold out.”

The 128 kits sold within about six weeks, earlier this year.

Sadler has been a member of the Public Safety Committee since 2003, but said this month’s meeting will be her last.

“My husband is retiring, and we have kids and grandkids to keep us busy,” she said. “I think it’s been a very worthwhile activity, and I enjoy giving back to the community. But I think it’s time to let other people become more involved.”

Henderson hopes that happens soon.

“To be honest, our (committee membership) numbers are down a little right now,” he said. “We could certainly use more volunteers. It’s a great way to serve the community and to, hopefully, make Taylorsville a better place.”

The Public Safety Committee meets the first Thursday of each month at 6:15 p.m., at the city offices (2600 West 5400 South).

Now that spring has arrived, committee members are looking ahead to the annual Taylorsville Dayzz celebration (June 22–24) where they will operate an information booth.

Later in the summer, the committee will host its annual Taylorsville Night Out Against Crime, Aug. 1.

“Nationwide, that’s always held on the first Tuesday of August,” Henderson said. “We always have a lot of community members come out to learn more about our police and fire services. In years past we’ve often had a police K9 demonstration, and people really enjoy watching the dog’s work.”

Previous Public Safety Committee activities have included:

  • Assisting in the organization of neighborhood crime watch programs
  • Checking sidewalks for unevenness, so they can be brought into ADA compliance
  • Surveying street lights to determine which ones aren’t working and additional locations where they are needed
  • Organizing school and community safety lectures
  • Providing gang awareness information
  • Publishing drug pamphlets showing what illegal narcotics are and how they appear on the street

Henderson said anyone interested in joining or assisting the Taylorsville Public Safety Committee can learn more about it on the city’s website or simply visit the next meeting, April 6 or May 4.