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Margaret Henderson's blog

Vermont Encourages Testing Schools for Radon

by Margaret Henderson

Vermont Department of Health and the Environment has emphasized the important of testing for radon in schools for more than a decade. Because the second largest contributor to radon exposure for children and staff is likely at their school, testing in Vermont has been encouraged by offering free radon kits.

To date, since 2005, approximately 25% of Vermont schools have been tested for radon; 14% had at least one room at or above the action level. Some results have been as high as five times the EPA recommended action level of 0.4 pCi/L.

In addition to the free test kits, the department also offers technical assistance to schools that have elevated radon levels. The department also provides links to the EPA guidance on schools:

· Radon in Schools

· Radon Measurement in Schools guidance document

Items of Interest from the Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit

Contributed by Daniel Tranter

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Indoor Air Unit has projects ongoing this summer and items of interest regarding radon.

Radon Disparities Study

We are continuing a study, with MDH Environmental Public Health Tracking and MDH Comprehensive Cancer Control, to examine geographic and socioeconomic differences in radon testing and mitigation. We anticipate using the findings to target our resources, improve our outreach, increase testing rates, and provide a roadmap for seeking funding for mitigation systems in areas with high radon and high poverty levels. Expected study completion by end of 2019.

Preliminary findings show:

· Statistically significant clustering of higher mitigation rates, primarily in the western and southern metropolitan areas, and lower mitigation rates, primarily in the Northern metro area.

Pennsylvania Includes Radon Information in Go Green Suggestions

by Margaret Henderson

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection provides a website encouraging “Go Green” for making homes more energy efficient, using renewable products, reducing consumer costs and helping climate change. Included with the numerous “Go Green” suggestions, information about radon resistant new construction and testing and mitigating homes for radon are provided with links to the department’s Radon Program.

Summit County, Colorado, Displays Radon Message on Buses

Information contributed by Maya Kulick and Dan Hendershott

In Summit County, Colorado, a message about obtaining free radon test kits was displayed on two buses that ran through the county and specifically several towns.

Summit County Public Health contracted with Street Media Group Advertising Display to display a vinyl advertising sign on a bus exterior and tail. The sign (dimensions of 21” x 72”) presented the message about free radon test kits prominently on the tail of the bus. The contract period was December 31, 2018, through March 24, 2019, and the messaging may have run a bit longer than that. The timing was to coincide with the beginning of Radon Action Month in January and continued for through three months total. The buses did not run the same route every day, and went through several towns and unincorporated parts of the county, including Breckenridge, Frisco, Keystone, and Silverthorne.

Radon in Water Testing Laboratory in Colorado

A message from Chrys Kelley:

Because I get this question a lot, I thought I would share with you all that we now have a radon in water testing laboratory in Colorado Springs, CO. It is the Radon Measurements Lab, LLC. They also have charcoal canisters and other devices that are analyzed on site. This is the laboratory that was previously at University of Colorado, Colorado Spring (UCCS) with Dr. Jim Burkhart. It is now located in the El Paso County Health Department and is directed by Jimmy Burkhart (Jim's son).

Contact information for the laboratory:
Website: https://www.radmlab.com/
Phone: 719-575-8484
Email: radonmeasurmentslab@yahoo.com

For more information about radon in Colorado, contact:

Chrystine (Chrys) Kelley
Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
Radon Program Manager
Phone 303-392-3442
Fax 303-691-7841
Chrys.kelley@state.co.us

Colorado Cancer Plan for 2020 Targets Radon

by Margaret Henderson

The Colorado Cancer Control Plan 2016 – 2020, Roadmap to Reducing the Burden of Cancer in Colorado targets radon in its section on environmental exposures that lead to cancer. The Plan, a product of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Colorado Cancer Coalition, which includes numerous contributors, sets strategies, objectives and measures for the state for 2020.

The CDHPE has an active program to support radon reduction. The Program has studied Behavioral Risk Factors for Radon and notes that 42.0 percent of adults have tested their home for radon (2012). Findings were that while 72 percent of Coloradans were aware of the dangers of radon, only 42 percent have

tested their homes.

Florida Partners with Home Builder Association for Continuing Education Credits for Radon Courses

by Margaret Henderson

Radon resistant new construction education for builders in Florida has been provided as a continuing education (CEU) course, in partnership with the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Home Builders Association. The course was approved by the Construction Industry Licensing Board for CEUs.

The one-hour course on Readily Remediate New Construction (known as Radon Resistant New Construction) techniques of the Florida Statewide Building Code is sponsored by the Department of Health. Training is provided by the Florida Homebuilders Association. The Department provides a list of contractors who have completed the course on the website http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/radon/maps/rrnc-training.html

Connecticut Webinar on Radon and Interventions for Healthcare Providers

On May 16, 2019, the Healthy Homes Webinar, “Radon: The Leading Environmental Cause of Cancer Mortality” was presented free of charge to attendees. The webinar discussed how to reduce health risks from radon.

Sponsors of the webinar were:

· New England Public Health Training Center

· Connecticut Department of Public Health

· Connecticut Partnership

· Public Health Learning Network

Dr. Bill Field, internationally know expert on radon, shared the latest research as well as the new guide, Reducing the Risk from Radon: Information and Interventions for Healthcare Providers. To see the publication, visit https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Departments-and-Agencies/DPH/dph/environmental_health/radon/pdf/HP_Radon_Guide_2018_FINAL.pdf?la=en

Indiana Cancer Control Plan for 2020 Sets Reducing Radon Exposure as Objective

by Margaret Henderson

Indiana’s Cancer Control Plan 2018-2020, Action for Cancer Prevention and Control, includes radon prevention as a focus area. The plan was developed by the Indiana Cancer Consortium (ICC) working with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), subject matter experts and contributors from various committees and partner organizations.

The Indiana Cancer Control Plan 2018-2020 identifies the policies, changes, and actions required to reduce the cancer burden in Indiana. The plan identifies objectives and ways to make an impact. The ICC has identified reducing radon exposure as one of the five objectives that support primary prevention. Measures and targets for 2020 included are as testing and mitigation goals:

· Number of homes tested: 17, 150

· Target: 25,109

· Percentage of Homes that Test ABOVE/EQUAL to 4.0 pCi/L that get Mitigation: 27.5%

· Target: 44.3%

(Data Sources: ISDH Environmental Public Health Division, 2015)

Kentucky Health Professional Training Provides Continuing Education

by Margaret Henderson

The University of Kentucky and the Kentucky State Radon Program have joined in efforts to establish and provide radon education for health professionals. The training qualifies for Continuing Medical Education (CME) for physicians and Kentucky Board of Nursing Contact hours (KBN) for nurses.

The goal is to enhance communication with patients about the risk of radon, especially when combined with smoking, and to educate health professionals about radon. Courses include six modules:

1. Radon and Health

2. Sources of Radon

3. Radon Testing and Mitigation to Protect Health

4. Public Health Responses to Frequently Asked Questions

5. Radon Policy and What Health Professionals Need to Know

6. What Patients Need to Know about Radon and Summary