About the Radon State Data Exchange
Radon remains a leading cause of cancer. 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 are information and information is the programmatic foundation for effective radon risk reduction. The officials leading these programs need access to data that are 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. Exchange Network partners have an opportunity to use the Network to improve access to radon data and promote better management of exposure risks.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Quality, through EPA's Exchange Network grants program, has developed an XML schema and a set of web services for publishing radon data that the state’s health department securely accesses. Other states can replicate this model using the resources that New Jersey created. More information on these resources, including the XML schema and Flow Configuration Document, is available at http://www.exchangenetwork.net/data-exchange/radon/.
As part of a collaborative effort led by EPA, HHS and seven other federal agencies, a Federal Radon Action Plan was developed in order to outline actions federal agencies can take within existing resources and program capacities to advance the Healthy People 2020 radon objectives and launch an ambitious national effort to end all avoidable radon-induced lung cancer death
As one of the commitments in the Federal Radon Action Plan, “CDC and EPA will explore including radon in environmental health tracking network.” CDC has organized a national workgroup with states and EPA to collaboratively develop the capability for receiving standardized radon test and mitigation data from state and local health departments and implemented a pilot effort to test the newly developed data aggregation process.
In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (CDC EPHTN), EPA and CDC EPHTN developed the capability for receiving standardized radon test and mitigation data from state and local health and environmental departments and testing laboratories, made the data available on the Tracking Network for secure access by participating partners, documented lessons learned from the pilot, and ascertained the practicality of scaling up to a national level database. EPA and CDC are expanding this approach to 6-12 additional states and at least one private laboratory. A key goal of the project is to explore Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (NCDM) to ensure compatibility and comparability of data and measures useful for understanding the impact of our environment on our health.
EPA and CDC hope to subsequently scale the pilot to a national level database for public access. Both agencies will advance existing and promote new collaborations to obtain radon test/mitigation data, offer scientific expertise to determine NCDMs, and provide technical support to modify the infrastructure and functionality needed to host the database.