About the Radon State Data Exchange
Radon remains a leading cause of cancer. As we ramp up action to reduce radon’s health risk, two
areas in need of increased attention have been identified:
1) the collection of data, and
2) its subsequent use.
EPA, states, tribes and several national and regional consortia all collect radon data. These programs have differing data needs, reporting requirements, thresholds, calculation protocols and approaches to validation and verification of data.
Despite these differences, each of these data collections share the common purpose of improved tracking and understanding of radon exposure. Data is information and information is the programmatic foundation for effective radon risk reduction. The people leading these programs need access to data that is reliable, consistent, flexible and comparable across programs. While a significant amount of radon data exists today, there are currently no systems that allow for the examination of data from multiple sources or to draw larger conclusions about radon at a regional or national level. The Radon State Data Exchange is a partnership effort with states, tribes, and industry to better coordinate the collection of radon data, and aggregate as much available data as desired.
In addition, many interested stakeholders have voiced concerns about EPA’s radon map and the need to do something about it. The group has discussed how better data could be used to update the map, as well as existing concerns about how the map is used to distribute SIRG funding. States know that the map is not being used as intended, such as by enforcing building codes according to the particular zone in which a county is located the EPA radon map. Unfortunately, EPA cannot afford to create another survey or another map.
As a result, in recent years a group of people began advocating that the radon community do something together to collect radon data so that it can be shared and combined with other data on a national scale. Working with CDC's Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (www.ephtracking.cdc.gov) and their experiences with data collaboration, the Radon State Data Exchange wanted to consider establishing a shared resource that many states can participate in and jointly keep our data. Then can be used in different ways…like mapping. And as more and more data comes in, the overall data set will be stronger.
The Radon State Data Exchange is currently exploring this concept. The intention is to build it through collaboration with radon stakeholders, while making sure that the states that have established databases are comfortable with the purpose and process of this endeavor.