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2009 International Radon Symposium Abstracts

Dr. James Burkhart, AARST’s Symposium Proceedings Editor, is pleased to announce that twelve Abstracts have been accepted and are being scheduled for presentation at the 2009 International Radon Symposium in St Louis, MO, September 20-23, 2009, subject to peer-review of the full papers by the AARST Technical and Science Committee.

The AARST Symposium Program Committee will consider the acceptance of late abstract submissions up until June 17, 2009 if they meet the following criteria:

Your abstract should convey in 150 words or less the essence of the intended paper, clearly indicating the contribution it will make to radon risk reduction or field practice. Abstracts will be screened by the Symposium Program Committee.

Original research, including policy and business-related papers, are especially encouraged in the following areas:

  • Cost-effectiveness of radon policy and program options

HUD Plans to Promote Radon Testing and Risk Reduction

HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control (OHHLHC) has published: "Leading Our Nation to Healthy Homes: The Healthy Homes Strategic Plan." One of the plan’s four goals is to promote the incorporation of healthy homes principles through ongoing practices and programs. Under this goal, HUD has adopted two strategies for reducing the risk of exposure to radon in federally assisted housing and mortgage programs:

Short Term Strategy - Promoting the Use of Healthy Homes Principles in Issue Areas Where There is a Critical Public Health Need: The Office will initiate collaboration with HUD program offices that oversee housing assistance and mortgage programs, and with EPA coordination, promote testing for radon and sub‐slab depressurization systems in properties with high levels of radon.

Long Term Strategy - Continuing to Facilitate the Adoption of Healthy Homes Practices by Existing Housing and Mortgage Programs: The Healthy Homes program will continue to work with HUD program offices that administer HUD‐assisted housing in an effort to incorporate healthy homes practices. Practices to emphasize will include: adoption of IPM practices; creation of smoke‐free housing developments; adoption of specifications for “moisture resistance” by publicly funded housing rehabilitation programs; and radon risk reduction where radon levels are high.

Surgeon General Calls for Action on Radon and a Few other Health Risks!

The who's who of healthy homes gathered this morning to applaud release of The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Healthy Homes (CTA). Radon is prominent throughout the CTA, including substantial sections on risk and mitigation. Access the CTA via http://www.surgeongeneral.gov.

Actions recommended on radon include:
(1) testing;
(2) radon mitigation and radon-resistant construction in new homes in the Midwest and East; and
(3) contacting your local or state health department for assistance.

Recommendation to Lower United Kingdom's Radon Reference Level


If you have been in one of MURC's radon classes in the past year, you have heard me mention that the UK was considering lowering their reference level (similar to what we have referred to as action level) by 50% to 100 Bq/m3 or about 2.7 pCi/L. Today, the recommendation of the independent expert Advisory Group on Ionising Radiation to the Health Protection Agency has been released with the lower reference level recommendation. It is my understanding that Germany has already set its reference level at 100 Bq/m3 and other countries are assessing reducing their levels as well.

In addition, the HPA Advisory Group recommended that radon control in new buildings be considered for most, if not all, of the UK.

US Radon Policy Needs to Change

Fellow radon practitioners,

I have responded to the call (below) to e-mail my congresspersons with a request to get active on radon. Over the past several months, I have been receiving e-mails from Healthy Homes which is garnering millions of dollars of grant monies for research and mitigation of indoor air quality issues. Radon is not among the issues they are addressing. These are state and county health officials; not some high-powered lobbyists. A neighboring town is looking for half a million dollars for a tennis court and basketball court in a flood plain as part of the stimulus package. Come on!!! We continue to let these financial opportunities slide by and then complain that the government doesn’t do anything about radon.

Minnesota's Radon-Resistant Homes Law

I was part of a joint state-academic-industry team that supported the legislative adoption of the statewide building code for radon control in all new homes in Minnesota. While this code requirement is unique in the U.S. (being statewide), it is far from perfect as illustrated in the news clip cited below and here is part of the reason why:

•The Minnesota code adopts Appendix F of the International Residential Code with modifications.
•Appendix F calls for passive soil depressurization which, if properly installed, reduces average radon entry by 50%.

Requiring RRNC in the International Residential Code

We are planning to submit a code change proposal - this weekend - to the International Code Council to amend the International Residential Code by elevating RRNC from its status as an optional appendix to a requirement, and by incorporating requirements from ASTM standard E1465a-07. Is anyone aware of a similar efffort?

Radon and Residential Real Estate: Working with the Real Estate Community

Radon and Residential Real Estate: Working with the Real Estate Community
Dr. Paul Locke is a radon leader who has over 20 years of experience in radon science, policy and law. He is particularly interested in how radon testing and remediation can be made part of residential real estate transactions. Dr. Locke is an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

This is Part 3 in a five-part blog on radon and residential real estate. Read previous posts.

What are some effective ways to work with the real estate community?

An example of successful dialogue

This is the second post in a two-part blog on the Radon Stakeholder Dialogue. Read the first post: Reflections from the Radon Stakeholder Dialogue Facilitator.

When I first started working with the Radon community, one of the biggest concerns raised was the existence of two competing voluntary standards for radon mitigation. People feared consumer confusion, continuing competition between the two organizations who set the standards, and conflict for education programs and certification programs – who would have to choose which to teach and test – and regulated states – who might adopt one standard but work with professionals trained in the other. And even deeper challenges –poor relationships, ineffective communication, bad history, and lack of trust among parties – underlay the dispute.

Reflections from the Radon Stakeholder Dialogue Facilitator

As a relative outsider to the Radon community, I have been struck by how essential collaboration is to achieving the goals set by the Radon Leaders Saving Lives campaign, and how these goals in turn reflect the shared interests of the participating groups. No one group working on radon has the capacity to achieve it’s goals on it’s own, and all require and rely on the efforts of the others in order to meet the shared goals that each has come together to set. EPA’s mandate to
protect human health from the risks of radon gas, CRCPD’s aims to support State efforts to reduce radon exposure, and AARST’s mission to support a viable, skilled, and professional radon industry capable of providing measurement, mitigation, and information to the public – all