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Massachusetts Features Radon in First Issue of MassTrack Newsletter

by Margaret Henderson

The Massachusetts Department of Health Indoor Air Quality Program advises the public about the health significance of high levels of indoor radon. The Program provides advice and assistance and receives funding from the USEPA State Indoor Radon Grant.

In Massachusetts, an estimated 650,000 homes have radon levels that exceed the USEPA recommended action level of 4 pCi/L. Approximately 34,000 homes in Massachusetts have radon levels that exceed 20 pCi/L. In order to encourage testing and mitigation, the Program provides information in a variety of ways. In 2018, the Program featured radon in the first issue (Volume 1, Issue 1) of MassTrack, Tracking Public Health in the Environment and Your Community. https://matracking.ehs.state.ma.us/newsletter/pdf/MassTrack_Winter_2018.pdf

Vermont Addresses Radon and Lung Cancer Risk

by Margaret Henderson

Vermont’s Healthy Homes website includes a video on one Vermont resident who lost her mother to lung cancer, likely caused by high radon levels in the home as found by testing the home after her mother’s passing at the suggestion of her physician. She encourages everyone to test their homes because it can “save your life.” http://www.healthvermont.gov/radon

One in eight homes in Vermont is anticipated to have elevated radon levels. To encourage awareness of radon hazards and testing, Vermont presents radon test results in an analytical tool that includes information on the percent of smokers in Vermont.

Wisconsin Includes Radon in Healthiest Wisconsin 2020

by Margaret Henderson

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has included radon in its state health plan, Healthiest Wisconsin 2020. Objective 2 of Environmental and Occupational Health states:

“By 2020, increase the percentage of homes with healthy, safe environments in all communities. (Safe environments are free from lead paint hazards, mold or moisture damage, environmental tobacco smoke and safety hazards, and include carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and radon testing and mitigation.)”

Approximately one in ten homes in Wisconsin has elevated radon levels. To achieve its objective of increasing testing and mitigation, the state has established 17 Radon Information Centers throughout the state to perform a variety of tasks, staffed with experts who are given goals, targets and reporting requirements.

South Carolina Adds a New Brochure on Radon to Publications

by Margaret Henderson

Does Your Home Have a Radon Problem? is a new brochure by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SDHEC) explains that in South Carolina, radon can be a problem.
https://www.scdhec.gov/sites/default/files/Library/CR-006953.pdf. A chart of lung cancer risk and radon levels is presented along with the Surgeon General’s warning. Risks, facts and what to do about radon are discussed.

In South Carolina, some radon levels found through testing have been as high as 126 pCi/L. The recommended action level by the USEPA is 4 pCi/L. Test data, as of March 2018, gives average in radon concentrations in homes that have been tested by county, with number of tests, average result and highest level.

Michigan Outreach Includes Information for Health Care Providers to Distribute

by Margaret Henderson

The State Indoor Radon Program, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, increases awareness of radon health risks through outreach and sharing of information. Its goal is to encourage testing and mitigation if levels found through testing are elevated.

Throughout the years, test results collected revealed that Michigan residents may be exposed to radon at levels that should be mitigated, above the 4 pCi/L USEPA recommended action level. In some counties, as many as 40-45% of the homes are anticipated to have elevated radon and statewide, approximately one in eight homes would be expected to have high levels.

Health data ranks Michigan above the national average of 58.3 per 100,000 people for lung and bronchus cancer incidence. The Michigan average is 63.4 per 100,000. With this incidence of lung disease, targeting the medical profession and enlisting their aid to address radon exposure was determined to be an appropriate outreach mechanism.

New York Wadsworth Center Laboratory Provides Radon Outreach

by Margaret Henderson

New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Center’s mission is “Science in the Pursuit of Health,” serving as the state’s public health laboratory. The lab conducts analyses, research, investigations and educational outreach. In its radon outreach, through the New York State Department of Health Radon Monitoring Program, the lab provides data mapping and resources for the public.

Using data from 1986 and 2007 of more than 45,000 basement screening measurements and more than 11,000 long-term living area measurements, the lab has compiled maps on the percentages of residences with respect to radon levels. This data came from the detector distribution program of New York State Department of Health. The lab notes “Because this type of data does not significantly change over time, it is still valuable today.” The information is provided to give reference information and encourage testing and mitigation.

CRCPD Supports the Development of an International Technical Document on Radon

Reprinted with permission from CRCPD Newsbrief, August 2018

Joshua Kerber, a leading U.S. expert in radon remediation and prevention, from the Minnesota
Department of Health, participated with Friderik Knez from the Department of Building Physics in the
Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute and Tony Löfqvist from Mark- och Miljö

Idaho Radon Levels Presented in Mapping Program Reaching Thousands of Viewers

by Margaret Henderson

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare presents radon date in a mapping program that allows users to examine radon data. The map, created December 2016, was last update July 2018, and has had 24,748 views.

The map, divided by county lines, indicated percent of high radon levels based on test results. Information presented includes:
• Zip code
• County
• Number of tests
• Number of tests high (greater than 3.9 pCi/L)

For instance in Ada County, 300 test results were collected and 12% exceeded the 3.9 pCi/L level.

Much of state is included in the Zone 1 designation by USEPA, having the highest potential for excessive radon (greater than 4 pCi/L). Fifteen counties are included in this zone, covering much of the state’s area.

Florida Radon Data for Foster Care Facilities Online

by Margaret Henderson

Mandatory testing for radon concentrations in foster care homes is required by Florida statues. The intent of the requirements is to provide the best available information to the guardians and decision makers of the clients of the foster care homes so that they may decide upon the health and care of those clients with respect to radon exposure. One in five residential homes (all types of homes, not just foster homes) in Florida has an elevated radon level. See http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/radon/_documents/fl-radon-map.pdf

Alabama Radon Activity Book and Alabama Public Health Provide Information about Radon

by Margaret Henderson

In Alabama, 15 counties are categorized as Zone 1, High Potential, where radon levels are anticipated to exceed the 4pCi/L recommended action level of the USEPA.
Alabama Public Health Radon Program provides information about ordering test kits https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/radon/index.html and other basics about radon mitigation.

The Alabama Radon Activity Book provides additional information in an easy to read, illustrated format. The booklet, published by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University), with technical review provided by the Alabama Public Health Department, has eight pages that highlight:
• what radon is;
• how it gets in your house;
• how radon damages lung tissue; and
• testing and mitigation specifics.