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Margaret Henderson's blog

Maryland Mapping Tools Provide Public Information

by Margaret Henderson

The Maryland Department of Health has presented new mapping in order to promote knowledge about radon in Maryland and its health effects and encourage testing for radon. Data provided for testing between January 2005 and April 2016 was supplied by laboratories including those of Air Chek, Inc., Alpha Energy Labs, Landauer Radon, RAdata Inc., and Radon Testing Corp of America, Inc.

The interactive map offers a variety of base maps and provides information by county. The county-level statistics include the number of measurements reported and the average radon concentrations. Concentrations reported are divided into four categories with averages in pCi/L of:
• 4.01 – 60.58
• 2.01 – 4.0
• .01 – 2.0
• 0
The number of samples range from:
• 150- 1293
• 50 – 149
• 10 – 49
• 0

The clickable map presents findings that include the following and allows the user to zoom in to the area:
• Average
• Count number
• Maximum radon concentration

Interactive California Radon Potential Map

by Margaret Henderson

The California Geological Survey has released an interactive map that provides information on radon potential in areas of California where the Survey has completed radon potential maps. See the map at http://maps.conservation.ca.gov/cgs/radon/
The map was produced in cooperation with the California Department of Public Health Radon Program. The map is intended to guide residents in understanding where radon may be found in excess of the USEPA recommended action level of 4 pCi/L; however, testing is recommended in all areas. Geographic Information System (GIS) data for each study area can now be downloaded through the interactive map.

The user may search for data by entering the location name, or by clicking on the map. In those areas where the radon potential mapping has been completed, results are provided. A pop-up block gives the information such as:
Potential: High

Oregon Updates Radon Risk Map

by Margaret Henderson

The Oregon Health Authority Radon Awareness Program has updated its Radon Risk Map, effective January 2018. The Program uses the interactive map to inform the public of potential hazards of radon. Encouraging testing, mitigation and radon resistance new construction are other missions of the Program. According to the Authority, there are approximately 276 radon-related lung cancer deaths each year in Oregon.

Maryland’s Activities for Radon Awareness Week

by Margaret Henderson

Governor Hogan of Maryland began Radon Action Month with a proclamation, naming Radon Gas Awareness Week, January 21 – 27, 2018. The Maryland Department of Health, Housing and Community Development, together with local health departments joined to educate Maryland residents about the hazards of radon.
http://mde.maryland.gov/programs/Air/RadiologicalHealth/Documents/radon_proclamation.pdf

The Department of Health and Department of the Environment produced a brochure on Maryland Radon Facts to provide the basics to the public.
https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/OEHFP/EH/Shared%20Documents/Radon/Flyer%20Radon%20Awareness.pdf

Tools for Local Health Departments were made available through the Department of Health website, which included:

Pennsylvania Messaging About Radon Carried by Various Outlets

by Margaret Henderson

In Pennsylvania, 40% of the homes tested have elevated radon levels, in excess of the 4 pCi/L recommended action level of the USEPA. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) provides outreach and assistance to the public in an effort to encourage testing and mitigation.

For National Radon Action Month, several outlets presented the Department’s messaging on radon. In a video interview on abc27.com, Bob Lewis of the Radon Division, was interviewed and featured on the website of the station. Mr. Lewis discussed why elevated radon levels may occur; about how to test and what results mean; and when and how to mitigate excessive radon concentrations in the home. (Source: Bob Lewis interviewed on abc27.com news, Radon Action Month By Jason Dietz Published: January 4, 2018) http://abc27.com/2018/01/04/radon-action-month/

Time Series Mapping of Radon in Nevada

by Margaret Henderson

The Nevada State Division of Public and Behavioral Health, through a USEPA grant, produced in cooperation with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, a series of maps by years 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009. Two types of maps per year are produced, showing:

· Nevada Statewide Radon Potential by Zip Code and Maps by County Name

· Nevada Statewide Average Radon Test Results by Zip Code and Maps by County Name

In the map “Nevada Statewide Radon Potential by Zip Code - Potential for Radon Problems, ” zip code areas were grouped based on percentages of:

· 0%

· 0.1 - 9.9%

· 10% - 19.9%

· 20% - 100%

Tabular information is given as:

· county

· total valid tests

· number greater thn 4pCi/L

· average radon level

· highest radon level

· percent radon potential

Radon Program Overview of Radon in Delaware

by Margaret Henderson

In “Overview of Radon in Delaware,” the Division of Public Health Radon Program reports findings from a review of radon testing in homes in order to identify where elevated levels of radon might be anticipated. Elevated levels were considered to be in excess of 4 pCi/L, the USEPA recommended action level.

The information is intended for use by residents of Delaware, to illustrate the potentials for excess radon exposure. The Division recommends testing all homes, regardless of the potential estimates. The reporting does explain to the public about other factors that can influence radon concentrations in homes:
• Geology (uranium)
• Depth of radon to surface of land
• Movement characteristics of radon in the soil and into the home
• Characteristics of the home structure and air movement within
• Sample result variations due to precipitation or barometric pressure changes during sample collection

Iowa Radon Guidance and Information Provided Partnering with American Lung Association for Healthy Air – Radon in Iowa Website

by Margaret Henderson

The Iowa Department of Public Health provides information to the public in a variety of ways in order to advise about the hazards of radon and encourage testing and mitigation. This outreach effort is based on the need to communicate the severity of the radon problem in Iowa. Iowa’s radon survey indicates that 71.6% of homes tested in Iowa had concentrations above the 4 pCi/L action level recommended by USEPA. That is the largest percentage of homes about the action level. The entire state is designated as a Zone 1 (where levels are expected to exceed the action level).

The Department uses its own website to provides links to several helpful brochures and guides, including:
• Radon & You
• Child Care Testing Guidance
• Introduction to Radon in Schools
• Radon in Schools
• Radon Basics
• Radon Measurement
• A Citizen’s Guide to Radon
• Physician’s Guide to Radon
• Home Buyers and Sellers Fact Sheet

Nevada Radon Poster Contest Winner Also Wins First Place Nationally

by Margaret Henderson

The “Element of Surprise,” a poster created by a Carson City, Nevada, middle school student, won statewide first place and went on to be a first place winner in the national contest as well.

The Nevada Radon Program, operated through the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Radon Education Program, educates the public on dangers of radon and encourages testing. As part of its promotion, an annual poster contest is held for students in Nevada, with winning entries going forward to the national contest. The state award for first place is $75.00. For the 2018 contest, there were 131 entries. The poster entries were to convey:
• What is radon?
• Where does radon come from?
• How does radon get into our homes?
• Radon can cause lung cancer.
• Test your home for radon.

Connecticut Promoted National Radon Action Month with Partners

by Margaret Henderson

The Connecticut Department of Health Radon Program (CT DPH) promoted National Radon Action Month through partnerships with other entities and health organizations. See the “2018 Local Health - Radon Program Partnership” map on the link from page http://www.portal.ct.gov/DPH/Environmental-Health/Radon/Radon-Program. These promotions were in keeping with the CT DPH Radon Program’s mission to promote radon awareness, testing, mitigation, and radon-resistant new construction throughout the state in order to reduce the number of radon-induced lung cancer deaths in Connecticut. In Connecticut, approximately 30% of the 25,000 homes tested have radon levels in excess of 4 pCi/L, the USEPA recommended action level.

Several of the partners published promotional information on their websites and in the news. A listing of some of these follows: