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Margaret Henderson's blog

Colorado Grant Provides Free Test Kits in Partnership Arrangements

by Margaret Henderson

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) provided a grant for supplying free radon gas test kits and help with mitigation to property owners in Eagle County, Colorado, through 2017. This grant is in partnership with Walking Mountains Science Center, Energy Smart Colorado, Shaw Cancer Center and Eagle County Environmental Health. This promotion was a key element in the 2017 National Radon Action Month events.

In Colorado, the average indoor radon level is about 6.4 pCi/L. The major source or radon in Colorado comes from natural geologic deposits of uranium and radium throughout the state.

DC Mapping Shows Radon Test Results and Lung Cancer Data

by Margaret Henderson

The Washington, DC, Department of Energy and Environment website features radon and lung cancer mapping at https://doee.dc.gov/node/22322.

Maps include:

  • Spatial distribution of radon in homes test results (2010-2012).
  • Spatial distribution of radon in homes in excess of 2.5pCi/L and lung cancer rate (per 10,000 population) from 2004 to 2008.
  • Radon test kit results 2010-2015.
  • Lung cancer prevalence and hospital discharges in 2010 (per10,000 population).

The website also provides common myths, information about radon and health effects, links to information and resources and an offer for free radon test kits.

District residents can obtain a free radon test kit by calling the radon hotline at (202) 535-2302 or by submitting request a free radon test kit.

For more information, contact:
Keith Keemer
Environmental Protection Specialist

Texas Tech University State Indoor Radon Grant Provides Training Course

by Margaret Henderson

The Institute of Environmental and Human Health of Texas Tech University will be sponsoring a course, conducted by and in partnership with the Engineering Extension at Kansas State University. The Combined Radon Measurement and MitigationCourse and Exams will be presented May 15-20, 2017 in Lubbock , Texas.

The Texas program homepage http://www.tiehh.ttu.edu/radon/news--resources.html provides information on radon. The website notes that several areas of Texas (county by county) may have a moderate potential for indoor radon, such as in the Panhandle area. However, the average radon level in homes is within norms. Texas has no areas of high potential. See the Texas Potential map http://www.tiehh.ttu.edu/radon/index.html#how_are_you_exposed_to_radon

Testing for Radon in Schools in Vermont

by Margaret Henderson

The Health Department’s Radon Program performs free radon screenings each winter for schools in Vermont. A message to school administrators and nurses is provided on-line at http://healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2017/01/ENV_HS_Radon_Letter_to_School_Nurse.pdf

Since 2005, in schools that have tested, 12% approximately have tested above the USEPA recommended action level of 4pCi/L. Eight of the 68 public schools (11.8%) tested had results above 4pCi/L level as of December 2016. Concentrations as high as 20% have been reported. The department estimates that there could be an additional 20 schools that have not been tested but would be expected to have high levels.

Oregon Radon Program Gives Guidance on Public School Testing

by Margaret Henderson

“Testing for Elevated Radon in Oregon Schools” has been published on the Oregon Health Authority website. See
https://public.health.oregon.gov/HealthyEnvironments/HealthyNeighborhoods/RadonGas/Documents/ORv1FINAL-pubs_Testing%20for%20Elevated%20Radon%20in%20Oregon%20Schools%202016.pdf (June 2016)

This document provides Oregon school districts with a protocol to accurately test for elevated radon levels in school buildings, per Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 332.166-167, Tests of schools for elevated levels of radon; plan; results.

Tennessee Radon Program Encourages Testing in Press Release

by Margaret Henderson

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) began National Radon Action Month (NRAM) with a press release January 6, 2017, encouraging testing and mitigation and offering free radon test kits and hosting educational outreach events. http://www.tn.gov/environment/news/47846 Governor Haslam also made a proclamation about NRAM. TDEC staff also have partnered with others to offer education and outreach in local communities.

Because radon has been detected in every county in Tennessee, testing each home is important, the department emphasized according to the TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. TDEC operates a statewide indoor Radon Program to serve and assist the public and provide technical information. http://www.tn.gov/environment/article/sp-rad-what-is-radon#sthash.mvXxbHbE.dpuf

Virginia Blog Announced National Radon Action Month

by Margaret Henderson

The Virginia Department of Health announced National Radon Action Month through its blog post.
http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/blog/2017/01/12/radon-action-month/

It explained the need for testing, what radon is and why it is important and what the unsafe levels are. The post noted that “In Virginia, an estimated 670 people (3.19% of the national average) are believed to die each year from radon-related lung cancer.”

Brief guidance was given on lowering risk by simple measures such as sealing cracks and suggesting if further work is necessary to lower levels, installing fans and piping may be needed. Guidance on testing was provided along with a link to the department’s website:
http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/radiological-health/indoor-radon-program/

Colorado Counties to Be Featured at the Region 8 Radon Conference, April 20 - 21, 2017

by Margaret Henderson

In the upcoming USEPA Region 8 Stakeholders Radon Conference to be held in Westminster, Colorado, Colorado presentations will feature experiences of city and county officials, with opening remarks from Chrystine Kelley, of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Radon Program Manager.

In Colorado, about half the homes have radon levels higher than the USEPA recommended action level of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L), according to the CDPHE website.

City and county officials from the City of Aspen and Garfield County will give their local perspectives on collaborating to increase the test kit return rates. Jefferson County representatives will discuss their program’s effort with Child Care Centers and Radon Resistant New Construction. Boulder County officials will discuss the “Public Health Regional Roadmap.”

For the agenda and registration information, see:

New Jersey Radon Program Partners with Others for National Radon Action Month

by Margaret Henderson

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and partners focused attention on radon testing and mitigation through National Radon Action Month activities. Partners included Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Regional Chronic Disease/Cancer Coalition of Morris and Somerset counties and Greater Somerset Public Health Partnership. The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders made a proclamation at the Tuesday, January 10, freeholders meeting in a commitment to increase awareness about radon and lung cancer.

Throughout January, information was distributed in the county administration building’s lobby allowing visitors to help themselves to facts about radon. The outreach emphasized the importance of testing so that mitigation efforts can be conducted if there is a problem.

For more information about radon in New Jersey, contact the NJDEP Radon Program.

Utah Announces Radon Poster Contest Winners for 2017

by Margaret Henderson

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has announced the 2017 children’s radon poster contest winners by press release and video. See http://deq.utah.gov/ProgramsServices/programs/radiation/radon/

From more than 500 entries, 5 posters from students (age 9-18) were selected as winners. Prizes awarded were $100 for the school and $100 for the student. Artistic posters depicted information about radon risks and dangers, where radon comes from, and how individuals can test for radon in the home.

In an on-line video, Eleanor Divver, of the DEQ Radon Program, explains the basics of radon and then discusses each poster explaining how it illustrates the messages about radon that will guide the public toward radon awareness and safety.