This study examines the psychological response to the threat of radon gas. This study contributes new information to the theoretical literature pertaining to fear appeals in general and the threat to children from radon gas in particular. The presence or absence of children living in the home resulted in opposite effects of alternative levels of threat. Those with children in the home were more motivated to call for information simply as the result of adding a vivid “x-ray sizzle effect” to an otherwise identical video stimulus. When the effect is not in the ad, people without children in the house were more motivated to call. Theoretical insights as to why this occurred are offered. The results also suggest arousal, attitude toward the ad, propensity toward avoidance of maladaptive behaviors, and perceived future likelihood of radon exposure also impact intent to call for more information on the radon threat. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.