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Montana Plans Second Radon Conference and Solicits Ideas

By Margaret Henderson

In 2014, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality hosted its first radon conference, which drew a crowd of approximately 30 including individuals from Montana State University, University of Montana, Montana Tech, tribal representatives, measurement professionals, mitigators, EPA, United States Geological Survey (USGS), and representatives from the counties of Missoula, Ravalli, Gallatin and Flathead. The purpose of the meeting was to identify stakeholders and exchange information about what activities are occurring in Montana regarding radon. Building on the success of the event, another conference is being planned. Tentatively, the conference will be held in March in Helena.

John Podolinsky, of the radon program, notes that “More and more Montanans are becoming aware of radon and it’s time again to come together again and learn from each other.” He is soliciting comments on plans for the meeting.

Indiana Uses Website and Maps to Encourage the Public to Test Their Homes for Radon

by Margaret Henderson

The Lead & Healthy Homes Program of the State Department of Health has the responsibility of licensing radon testers and mitigators in the State of Indiana, and providing the public information about radon and its effects.

Almost all of the state is in either Zone 1 or 2, according to the EPA maps of Indiana, indicating that much of the population may be potentially exposed to concentrations in excess of the 4 pCi/L action level EPA recommends. Nearly one out of every three homes in Indiana is estimated to have radon levels greater than 4.0 pCi/L, according to the program’s radon fact sheet.

The program emphasizes that the only way to be sure of the radon level is to “test your home." Homes with elevated levels of radon have been found in all areas of Indiana.

The Indiana State Department of Health website uses a series of maps to provide information about radon test results in recent years as an encouragement to the public to test their homes.

National Radon Action Month Poster Contest Winners

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 20, 2016) – As part of National Radon Action Month, the American Lung Association (ALA) and Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD) have partnered, with support from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, to announce the winners of the 2016 National Radon Poster Contest.

The contest is held each year across the nation to raise awareness of radon gas. Radon is a naturally occurring, colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas formed by the breakdown of uranium in the soil and is found in every state. Radon can enter a home through cracks and other openings in the home and can build up to dangerous levels.

"Radon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. These deaths can be reduced, and as a nation there is an urgent need to take steps to save lives," said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association.

New Jersey’s Radon Action Partnership Packet

By Margaret Henderson

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (department) Radon Section offers municipalities the opportunity to partner in radon testing and educational initiatives. In joining New Jersey’s radon outreach efforts, communities help to prevent radon-related lung cancer. The department encourages joining by providing useful information through the Radon Action Partnership Package http://njradon.org/download/radon_aware_program.pdf.

Alaska – New Bulletin Summarizes Data and Encourages Testing

By Margaret Henderson

The State of Alaska has a new brochure on “Radon in Alaska – Current Knowledge and Recommendations,” published October 6, 2015. This State of Alaska Epidemiology Bulletin No. 25 discusses radon information and includes the recommendation that all Alaska residents should test their homes for radon.

Over the past 24 years, Alaska has collected data on radon measurements, from funding from the EPA Radon Outreach Program. Of the 3200 valid test results, 21% had readings in excess of the 4 pCi/L EPA recommended action level.

The new one-page bulletin gives a chart of the findings, by zip code areas and community, and percentage of those test results exceeding 4 pCi/L. In six of the areas, more than 50% of the test results were in excess of 4 pCi/L. Most maximum readings were less than 100 pCi/L, with one outlier of 1355 pCi/L reported. In the Healy/Denali National Park region, 62% of the test results exceeded 4 pCi/L.

10th Annual Region 7 Radon Stakeholders' Announcement/Agenda

You are invited to the 10th Annual Region 7 EPA/State Radon Stakeholders’
Meeting. This meeting is being held at no cost for all those who have a stake in
protecting the public from unnecessary exposure to radon in their homes, schools
and businesses.
EPA Region 7 and its partners, Iowa Department of Public Health, Kansas
Department of Health and Environment, Missouri Department of Health and Senior
Services, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and American
Association of Radon Scientists & Technologists (AARST) seek to bring interested
stakeholders together to discuss common issues and understand them from other
perspectives, provide insight into the future, share, educate and network.
We still believe meetings such as this provide all of us with better ways to assist
the public and reduce radon exposures. We hope to see you in Nebraska City on
March 8, 2016.
Meeting Registration: There is no cost and registration is not required, but space is limited.

Nevada State Cancer Plan Includes Radon Objectives and Activities for the First Time

By Margaret Henderson

Nevada State Cancer Plan 2016-2020 - Refining Strategies for the Future of Cancer Control in Nevada has been published recently and it includes radon as a health challenge and provides a blue print for action.

Connecticut Radon Program Announces New Instructional Video

By Margaret Henderson

The Connecticut Department of Health promotes radon awareness and testing mitigation, recommending that all homes be tested for radon. Because radon is found sporadically in Connecticut, it is important to test each home, notes the departments Radon Program website fact sheet at http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/environmental_health/radon/pdf/Basic_Radon__Facts.pdf

The website also announces a new video, “Testing Your Home for Radon” on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHP7IIJkrlU&feature=youtu.be
The four minute video describes best practices for testing in simple, understandable terms.

For more information about the video or radon in Connecticut, contact:
Allison Perry Sullivan

Environmental Analyst

Connecticut Department of Public Health Radon Program

Youth Serve as Radon Education Ambassadors!

Youth organizations such as the 4-H Club provide an ideal forum for reaching many families who may have never heard of radon. By implementing programs such as the annual radon poster contest, young people will continue to get involved in learning about radon. Some may even become radon education ambassadors, helping to spread the word about radon through their expanding networks. Kids can also be encouraged to select radon as their focus for science fair projects, as well as the subject of their 4-H speeches and demonstrations that are part of the national organization's leadership development program. By sponsoring radon programs targeted toward kids and supporting them as mentors through these programs, more and more people will be educated and hopefully take action to test, fix, and save lives!

Using GIS for Displaying Radon Data in Understandable and Informative Ways

By Margaret Henderson

Source: Presentation: "So You Want to Draw a Map - Considerations for GIS" by
Clark Eldredge of the Florida Department of Health at the 25th National Radon Training Conference held in September 2015.

Considerations for using GIS (Geographic Information System) in making maps about radon were presented by Clark Eldredge of the Florida Department of Health at the 25th National Radon Training Conference held in September 2015. The event is sponsored by CRCPD with financial assistance from EPA.

GIS, a computer based system, provides the means to use databases and locational details to relate information to positions on the earth’s surface.

Mr. Eldredge advised about the use of mapping tools and discussed the considerations, terms, definitions, technicalities of GIS and the type of maps that could be created. To tell the story you want to present, Mr. Eldridge suggests asking yourself:
• What do you want to know or say?