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Combined Efforts Address High Potential for Radon Exposures in Iowa

By Margaret Henderson

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that results of the Iowa Radon Survey indicate that the state has the largest percentage (71.6%) of homes above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action level of 4pCi/L as compared to any other state. The EPA designated Iowa as an entirely “Zone 1” state, which means that at least 50% of the homes are above EPA's recommended action level. As Rick Welke, of the department’s radon program notes, “The only way to know is to test.”

The emphasis on testing is getting results. Twenty to thirty thousand results per year are being reported to the state under the requirement that anyone licensed in radon measurement, testing and/or mitigation businesses must submit data. The data being received supports the EPA’s projections with results ranging from the 4pCi/L recommended level to as high as 50pCi/L or more.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) Produces a New Video for NRAM

The CT DPH Radon Program produced a new video showing how easy it is to test your home for radon. View Connecticut's 4 minute video on YouTube for step-by-step instruction: DPH: Testing Your Home for Radon

Partnering and Broad Outreach Strategies Extend the Ohio Radon Program’s Effectiveness in Prevention of Disease

By Margaret Henderson

The Ohio Department of Health has developed and implemented a broad reaching indoor radon program, utilizing both the state and local resources and by partnering with industry and organizations. Partnering efforts have historically been used and are currently being used to advance mitigation of radon hazards and protection of the consumer.

In the late 1980s, industry and legislators worked together proactively and created legislation to aid consumers, explained Marybeth Rich, Senior Health Physicist of the Radon Program in the Bureau of Radiation Protection at the Ohio Department of Health. Radon legislation and the ensuing rules have evolved over decades to provide continual protection and add requirements for data collection and reporting so that Ohio residents can access information on licensed testers, mitigation specialists and contractors and data regarding residential radon.

The regulated community currently consists of:

Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Whiteboard Animation on YouTube Has 33,124 Views on Facebook in Less than One Month

By Margaret Henderson

An engaging, clever and conversational whiteboard presentation with the messages “Order a kit, do the test and fix the problem,” has in less than one month of posting on YouTube received 33,124 views on Facebook (306 shares and 499 likes), 1,464 views of the three minute version on YouTube, and 5,643 views of 30 second version on YouTube. View the videos:

• 3 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOcFmv58v04&feature=youtu.be

• 30 second video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jazTCqAw7cA

Washington’s Web-based Data Query Tool and Staff Expertise Provide Information and Answers about Radon

By Margaret Henderson

In 2014, the State of Washington launched its Washington Tracking Network (WTN), A Source for Environmental Public Health Data. This web-based, data query application serves as an important outreach tool for members of the public who are interested in radon levels in their state. While the test results conform to the predicted radon levels shown on the EPA zone map for Washington, with northeast, southeast and lower central Washington expected to have levels exceeding 4pCi/L (EPA’s recommended action level), Mike Brennan of the state’s Radon Program notes that testing is the only way to know the radon concentrations in your own home.

Florida Radon Program approaches evolve over time and consider unique variables to operate the best protection program

By Margaret Henderson

Florida is not strictly undisturbed lands for which maps can predict the geology and what areas may have excessive radon levels. In some cases, barrow ditches 200 feet deep have been excavated and soils removed to other areas. In Florida, there has been considerable digging and rearranging of the soils, by mankind and by nature, over time; that and other unique circumstances have caused Florida’s Radon Program to evolve to continually provide the best possible health protection.

The Radon program was created with three primary missions:

  1. To educate and inform the public about radon and its health effects.
  2. To protect the public from deceptive radon measurement and mitigation practices by certifying radon professionals.

Around the Nation States Announce Radon Action Month, January 2015

By Margaret Henderson

With press releases, local news coverage and proclamations, during Radon Action Month, the state radon programs and their partners raised awareness about indoor radon and the need for testing and the significance of health effects of elevated radon levels.

A sampling of announcements and coverage include these states and media links that announced Radon Action Month and associated activities.


Pennsylvania Responds to 11 homes over 1000 pci/l with Comprehensive Approach

From an interview with Robert K. Lewis, Radon Program Manager, by Margaret Henderson

Forty percent of Pennsylvania homes have radon in concentrations greater than 4pCi/L, the EPA recommended action level, and radon is found in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. Working to address these issues during the last 30 years, the Radon Division of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has developed a comprehensive approach and one that has recently been employed to address new findings of a test result of 2,700 pCi/L from a home in a new subdivision in SE Pennsylvania. So far, in this new development, at least 11 homes have been found to have basement concentrations greater than 1000 pCi/L, with the highest result now at 3,715 pCi/L. This is a remarkably finding that the Radon Division has never seen in the past 30 years. The goal is to get all the homes in this development tested.

Kansas Data Used to Meet Goals- Mitigation and Reduction of Lung Cancer

The mandatory measurement and mitigation reports sent quarterly to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) are used to look at long-term trends across the state specifically to help the State of Kansas meet goals concerning the reduction of lung cancer through preventable exposures.

A data table showing county by county data including total number radon tests, number of mitigations, and county level average radon result will be available in the near future at www.kansasradonprogram.org.

Highlights include these facts:

• A total of 11,803 radon measurements were reported to KDHE from 10/1/2013 through 6/30/2014.

• 5,029 met or exceeded the EPA Radon Action Level of 4.0 picocuries of radon per liter of indoor air pCi/L, which is 43% of the total number of measurements.

• The average of the reported measurements was 5.1 pCi/L.

• The maximum reported radon value during this time period was 317.8 pCi/L in Riley County.

California’s Primary Focus on Surveys and Partnerships Provides Residents with Needed Guidance on Radon

By Margaret Henderson

The California Radon Program focuses its primary efforts on screening surveys done in partnership with California Geologic Survey, the subject matter experts for the state. With California’s diverse geology, surveys will be particularly useful in the radon efforts. Thus far, they’ve completed studies for the Palos Verdes Area, Santa Cruz County, Lake Tahoe Area, San Luis Obispo County, Monterey County, Ventura County, and Southern Los Angeles County and have completed a radon zone map for Santa Barbara County.