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Alaska Offers Specific Guidance about Radon Issues

by Margaret Henderson

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services provides radon information and assistance through the University of Alaska Fairbanks Extension Service.

As determined through testing projects over a 24-year period, conducted by the University of Alaska Fairbank (supported by the USEPA), 3200 test results have been collected and 21% exceeded the USEPA recommended action level of 4 pCi/L.

The radon program activities provide outreach and education to assist residents in learning about radon, testing and mitigation. Educational opportunities include a DVD that maybe ordered on-line and a publication on radon that may be downloaded.

Pennsylvania Uses YouTube Videos to Explain About Radon

by Margaret Henderson

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Radon Division provides expert information to the public about radon. Funding is provided through a joint state and USEPA grant. The DEP notes that an estimated 40 percent of Pennsylvania homes have radon levels above the USEPA’s action guideline of 4 pCi/L.

The DEP provides outreach through courses, staffing information booths at events, and visiting school events and home shows. Additionally, social media is used to inform and raise awareness about radon.

In using social media as one approach to inform residents about radon, YouTube videos have been placed on-line. Program Manager, Bob Lewis, explains how to test your home for radon in a YouTube video, which has received 2111 views. See “How to Test Your Home for Radon” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26AEo271aXI

Oregon Radon Mitigation Code for New Construction In Place in Several Counties

by Margaret Henderson

In Oregon, approximately 276 radon-related lung cancer deaths happen each year, according to the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Radon Awareness Program. The program provides risk-level mapping and test results by zip code and recommends testing to determine actual levels in each residence and mitigation of radon levels in excess of 4pCi/L, the USEPA recommended action level.

Some Oregon counties have adopted radon mitigation code requirements for new construction. Oregon Residential Specialty Code provides information and guidance (Appendix F: Radon Control Methods).
http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/HEALTHYENVIRONMENTS/HEALTHYNEIGHBORHOODS/RADONGAS/Documents/Appendix%20F_Radon%20Control%20Methods.pdf. Counties that have requirements in place are:

  • Baker;
  • Clackamas;

Utah Department of Environmental Quality Reports Radon Data

by Margaret Henderson

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) provides radon data to the public through its website in two ways.

A table available on the DEQ website presents data for 52,517 short term radon tests (statewide total) as categorized by county and by zip code within each county (data through March 2017).

The maximum reported result was in Beaver County (664pCi/L), with 180 results of 406 tests exceeding 20 pCi/L, the recommended EPA action level. Statewide, only 3% of the total testing results in levels exceeding 20 pCi/L. Statewide, 63% of the tests reported results less than 4 pCi/L. Statewide 37% of the results exceeded 4 pCi/L.

Study on Pennsylvania Radon Occurrence in Groundwater and Potential Radon Exposure Published

by Margaret Henderson

The United States Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), has conducted a study and release findings in a May 2017 report. Results of 1041 groundwater samples from 16 geologic units were used to identify units where high media radon concentrations were present. Samples were collected between 1986-2015.

The study examined the potential radon exposures related to the specific geologic units. The study notes some limitations based on indoor air radon data’s spatial accuracy due to geocoding, and some interpretation accuracy. Usefulness of the study is in promoting awareness regarding potential exposures and identifying data gaps. Information is not intended to predict concentrations or guide decisions about whether or not to test for radon.

Within the study area, six cities with populations in excess of 30,000 were included.

Virginia’s Work on Radon in Schools

by Margaret Henderson

Virginia’s Office of Radiological Health has conducted several activities regarding radon in schools. Due to testing in the Franklin County School District which had 24 areas confirmed to have radon levels in excess of 4pCi/L, the EPA recommended action level, several activities were conducted to assist the district. (Results were from testing done in schools and administration buildings.) Virginia code requires testing schools. According to the department website, Virginia’s General Assembly passed legislation that requires all schools in the Commonwealth to be tested for radon after July 1, 1994, as well as any new school buildings. Each school is required to maintain files of radon test results.

CanSAR Launches New Campaign to Increase Radon Awareness

Hendersonville, NC, August 1, 2017: August 1st is World Lung Cancer Day 2017. Cancer Survivors Against Radon (CanSAR), a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through radon awareness, chose this day to announce the launch of a new awareness and fund raising campaign: Women Against Radon (WAR).

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 222,500 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer and more than 155,000 will die from the disease this year. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined, according to ACS.
Cigarette smoking remains the #1 cause of lung cancer, but the second leading cause is radon exposure, which occurs primarily in the home. Millions of homes, as well as schools, and other buildings are all places where radon exposure can occur, resulting in more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States alone.

Minnesota Repeal of Radon Licensing Program Vetoed by Governor

The portion of an Omnibus bill that included the Repeal Bill of the Radon Licensing Program has been vetoed by Governor Dayton of Minnesota. In making the veto, he mentioned the importance of having testers and mitigators properly trained in order to protect consumers and the public health. Rulemaking for Radon Licensing in Minnesota will proceed, with an implementation date of January 1, 2019. Rulemaking is to be completed during 2017. Rules will require licensing of those who measure and/or mitigate for radon.

For more information about the proposed rules or legislative changes, contact:
Joshua Kerber

Nevada Publication Provides Information and Provides an “Ask the Professor” Feature

by Margaret Henderson

Nevada Today, an on-line publication of the University of Nevada Reno, featured an article by Susan Howe, Director of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's Radon Education Program in which she explains why it's important to check for radon in your home. http://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2017/atp-radon

The program’s activities are a grant-funded outreach program, funded by the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health. The “Ask the Professor” feature of the article provides a contact form in which the reader may ask a professor a question about radon.

In the article, Ms. Howe encourages testing, radon resistant new construction, and mitigation when necessary. The article also provides links to the Radon Poster winner for 2017 and to a series of outreach meetings conducted during 2017.

Rhode Island Radon Control Program Provides Wide Array of Guidance

by Margaret Henderson

Rhode Island Department of Health, Radon Control Program, provides guidance to the public on a variety of radon topics. In Rhode Island, the average radon level is almost three times the national average. One in four homes tested has exceeded the USEPA recommended action level of 4 pCi/l. More than 50% tested homes in Exeter and Richmond exceeded this level (2011 database). Therefore, making public information widely available is an important mission of the department.

To provide information to the public, the department uses its website to provide a wide variety of information for businesses and residents.

Some guidance includes:

• Radon in drinking water wells http://web.uri.edu/safewater/files/TipSheetC13-Radon.pdf