Radon in the News
Residential exposure to radon, a known carcinogen for lung cancer, has now been shown to increase the risk for hematologic malignancies in women, although not in men. The increase in risk was seen after even moderate levels of exposure, according to a large prospective study of the general population in the United States.
The results were published online March 22 in Environmental Research.
"Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and now we have this second set of cancers that we think is associated with even moderate levels of radon," said lead researcher Lauren Teras, PhD, strategic director of hematologic cancer research at the American Cancer Society (ACS) in Atlanta.
People should test their homes and follow the remediation procedure recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). "Once they have gone through the process, people can eliminate or vastly reduce their exposure to radon," she told Medscape Medical News.
More Minnesotans are testing their homes for radon, the radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the ground and can seep into homes. It’s estimated that 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year in the United States are attributed to radon exposure.
The Minnesota Department of Health said earlier this year that testing has doubled in the past two years, thanks to awareness efforts and a new state law that requires sellers of homes to tell potential buyers whether a home has been tested, and, if so, what the levels are.
But what happens after tests of the levels in a basement or living space exceed state standards for safety?
A call should go out to a radon mitigator. The fix for radon is relatively easy, experts say. A job usually starts at $1,500. Costs can be higher depending on the difficulty of getting under a slab and installing piping to release the radon safely through a roof vent. Other work can include sealing areas where radon is encroaching into a home.
Real estate is all about location, location, location – and in more ways than one. As scientific research grows more sophisticated about naturally occurring toxins that are harmful to people’s health in large doses, what's in the soil beneath your home becomes an important part of that location concern as well.
Radon is one gas gaining significant attention in real estate transactions, as the National Radon Safety Board estimates nearly 1 in 15 homes in the U.S. have elevated radon levels – above the federally recommended 4 picocuries per liter of air, a unit of measurement for radioactivity.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends all homeowners test their home’s radon level, as radon is now reported as the second leading cause of lung cancer in Americans, after smoking. As awareness of the dangers of radon exposure increases, the EPA also advises testing a home's radon levels before buying or selling it.
The Fayette County School Board is expected to vote on a potential solution after identifying nine schools that tested positive for high levels of radon.
Nine schools tested positive for the gas. Radon is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas, occurring naturally as a decay product of radium. It is also the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Early this month, radon was found in nine schools Bryan Station High School, Booker T. Washington Intermediate Academy, Harrison Elementary, Leestown Middle School, Lexington Traditional Magnet School, Mary Todd Elementary, Russell Cave Elementary, SCAPA and Sandersville Elementary.
In 2015, LEX Investigates featured a story on radon testing in public schools. After testing for radon at Locust Elementary returned high levels, all 66 schools were tested.
N.H. Realtors, DES agree to loosen radon warning guidelines
By ALLIE MORRIS
Friday, March 18, 2016
(Published in print: Friday, March 18, 2016)
New Hampshire Realtors and the Department of Environmental Services have struck a deal over how to advise residents about the safety risks of radon in drinking water.
A Senate bill up for debate this year would have effectively limited the state’s ability to communicate any health risks associated with radon in water to residents. Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas formed in granite that can get into the air and water and lead to different forms of cancer.
The groups agreed to revise the department guidelines.
Previously, if tests revealed radon reached a certain level in drinking water – 2,000 picocuries per liter – the state advised homeowners to consult mitigation professionals.
High radon levels were found at nine Fayette County Public Schools, requiring an emergency fix, a district official said Thursday.
The schools were: Bryan Station High, Booker T. Washington Intermediate, Harrison, Leestown Middle, LTMS, Mary Todd, Russell Cave, SCAPA and Sandersville. The remediation will cost $571,846.
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas, according to the EPA website. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It moves up through the ground to the air and into buildings through cracks and other holes in the foundation.
The levels of radon are higher than the 4 picocuries per liter limit recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The highest level found was Harrison Elementary at 15.8 picocuries per level.
Myron Thompson, acting senior director of operations and support, said work will begin during spring break and continue over the summer, all when students are not present.
"Radon" sounds like a secret supervillain, and you could say that's essentially what it is. An invisible, odorless gas, radon concentrates in homes and buildings, exposing those who breathe it in to the second-top cause of lung cancer in the U.S. The good news is radon testing is simple; high-radon homes can be mitigated or fixed – and free or reduced-cost testing is offered in many areas.
Learn more about radon, mitigation, and testing for peace of mind.
A long-running dispute between the real estate industry and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is back before the state legislature this year. Realtors have put forward a bill that would force the DES to get in line with federal standards when it comes to what's considered safe levels of radon in drinking water.
New Hampshire has no standard on how much radon in drinking water is safe, but it has set a level at which it recommends homeowners take action: 2,000 picocuries per liter. Meanwhile, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has never set a limit on the safe level of radon in drinking water.
Learn more here.
Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in the Unites States. It’s caused most frequently by smoking, but radon exposure is believed to be the second leading cause. Radon may be lurking in your own home or your child’s school without you even knowing.
Read the rest of the article here.
Even though this is the last day of January, it is still important to note that it is National Radon Awareness month.
Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, only behind tobacco smoke. It is responsible for a reported 21,000 deaths per year in the United States.
Radon is a radioactive gas that forms when naturally-occurring uranium in granite bedrock decays into radium. This radium then decays to radon, a colorless, odorless gas. Radon is not harmful outside, but it can build up to damaging levels inside a house.
All of North Georgia, especially the upper third of the state, is considered to be at a moderate to high radon risk.
In Columbia and Richmond counties, an average of 4 percent of the test kits come back with elevated levels of radon.
Radon enters homes through cracks and crevices in your foundation. The air pressure inside your home acts as a vacuum, helping to pull radon up from the soil beneath.