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Radon Facts for Virginians From the Virginia Department of Health Indoor Radon Program

by Margaret Henderson

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Indoor Radon Program has created a brochure about radon, specific to Virginians. http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/7/2016/01/Radon-Facts-for-Virginians.pdf

Of the 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States that USEPA states may be associated with exposure to radon, approximately 600 of those deaths occur in Virginia (based on census statistics). Approximately 20 to 25% of Virginia homes may meet or exceed the recommended USEPA action level of 4.0 pCi/L, based on available test results. The radon risk correlates in large part with the local geology. The majority of the state is in Zones 1 and 2, with Zone 1 predicted to have radon levels in excess of 4pCi/L and Zone 2 predicted to have radon levels between 2 and 4 pCi/L. See the map at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/radiological-health/indoor-radon-program/epa-radon-risk-map-for-virginia/.

The brochure for Virginians discusses the action level recommended by VDH (and USEPA) of 4pCi/L. Testing instructions for seasonal variations are explained, recommending testing with a short-term (3-7 day) test between late October and early May. Testing in winter will probably result in higher results and the spring and fall periods are closer to annual average, the brochure clarifies. The VDH recommends avoiding testing in three circumstances:
• summertime;
• during periods of heavy precipitation; and
• during periods of high sustained winds.

How radon gets into the home and what can be done about mitigating high levels is explained. A reference to lists of certified testers and mitigators are provided.

For more information, contact:
VDH Radon Coordinator
Indoor Radon Program
Ryan Paris, Radon Coordinator
General number: (804) 864-8161
Email: Ryan.Paris@vdh.virginia.gov