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Radon in the News

Renovations May be Putting Children at Risk

Canada's $44 billion renovation industry has been the fastest growing part of the housing sector for the last 10 years, but it is risking the health of those living in the houses under construction -- particularly children -- says a report by the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA).

Renovation activities including energy retrofits, if not done carefully, can greatly increase indoor contaminant exposures, says the report. Renovations may disturb toxic contaminants such as lead, asbestos or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that are legacies of past product uses and practices. Air sealing or tightening a building can reduce the frequency of air exchange and potentially lead to higher radon levels in indoor air, as well as moisture and mould problems.

A New Green Code is About to Change the Way We Build

View or download the International Green Construction Code.

A game-changing juggernaut is steadily making its way through the building code development and approval process. The International Green Construction Code (IGCC)—some call it the “Green Code”—promises to bring considerable change to the design and construction industry when adopted as early as 2012. Over the next several months, this code will evolve through public comment, making now a critical time for the profession to get involved.

Invisible and Odorless, Radon Poses Risks to Lungs

Invisible and Odorless, Radon Poses Risks to Lungs

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- It may be hard to think of radiation as a present and serious environmental health concern in the United States, much less one with the potential to affect nearly every home in the country.

But a radioactive gas known as radon is responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

"It's the second leading cause of lung cancer, and, for non-smokers, it is the leading cause of lung cancer," said Kristy Miller, a spokeswoman for the indoor environments division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "It is invisible and odorless. It causes no symptoms. You possibly may be breathing in high levels and not even know it."

Radon gas is created by the breakdown of uranium in rocks, soil and water. It seeps up through the ground and into homes through foundation cracks and crawl spaces.

Inspection Can Reveal Whether Radon Problem Exists

Inspection Can Reveal Whether Radon Problem Exists

If a house touches the ground, it's susceptible, inspector says

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Brandon Smith started a radon inspection company of his own when the company for which he made heat-resistant wire closed down after 100 years in business.

Smith and his wife, who live in Battle Creek, Mich., opened their mom-and-pop business, Michigan Radon Agency, in 2005 and now test about 15 houses a week for radon.

"It's not an easy business to get into," Smith said. "You have to get trained, certified and licensed, and have all your business connections in place." And that includes real estate agents. "They're the ones recommending you, so you've got to know a lot of them," he said.

For his testing, which Smith said ranges from $75 to $150, electronic monitors are placed around a house and left for two weeks. He also takes an instant hour-by-hour readout for the homeowners. "It's always done in the basement, if it's livable," he said.

An Air of Danger: EPA Warns of Radon Risks

One in 15 U.S. homes contains high levels of a gas that is thought to be the second-leading cause of lung cancer — after smoking — and causes more than 21,000 deaths a year.

The colorless, odorless killer is called radon, and it is the product of the breakdown of uranium in soil. The gas can seep upward into cracks and holes in the foundations of buildings, where it can accumulate. Radon also can sneak into a home through well water, and, in a small percentage of buildings, the building materials themselves can contain radon.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon accumulated inside a building reaches a dangerous quantity when it is measured at 4 picocuries per liter and the building’s inhabitants are exposed to the gas for years.

The risk of developing lung cancer from radon exposure is much higher for smokers.

Radon Data Published, UK

Millions of households across England and Wales can now access details about radon measurements in their area, in a new HPA report.

For many years the Health Protection Agency's radon team has been gathering and publishing data on indoor concentrations of the gas across the UK.

The new report, published here brings together thousands of measurements made by the Agency in England and Wales and presents summaries by postcode and by council area. The new work has allowed scientists to calculate that between 100,000 and 200,000 homes across England and Wales are above the radon Action Level; the threshold at which HPA recommends that radon should be reduced.

Radon is a naturally occurring odourless, colourless, radioactive gas and is the second largest cause of lung cancer in the UK.

EPA Radon Conference Set for Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. The Environmental Protection Agency and state officials are hosting a conference on radon this week in Columbia.

The one-day conference is scheduled for Wednesday and will include representatives from the regional EPA and health officials from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. The agencies have been working to create a risk reduction plan for radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas.

The EPA said in a release that one in 15 U.S. homes has high levels of radon, but the hazard can be avoided by taking steps, such as having a home tested regularly.

To view this article, visit http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-mo-radonconference,0,6833180.story.

Radon Month Boosts Food Pantries

GLADWIN COUNTY -- Radon Awareness Month came to an end as we moved into February, but it ended on a high note as plenty of food items came in from the public.

During the month of January, Central Michigan District Health Department offered radon test kits to the public for $5 each or free with a non-perishable food donation. Soups, vegetables, evaporated milk, baby foods, beans, pasta, and macaroni and cheese seemed to be the most popular donations this year.

To view this article, visit http://www.gladwinmi.com/articles/2011/03/08/business/doc4d7690666c9a8779153122.txt.

Girl’s Poster on Radon Wins National Contest

An eighth-grader’s poster on the dangers of radon takes first place in a competition.

When Logan Stewart, 14, started working on an assignment to do a poster on the dangers of radon, she had no inkling it would be powerful enough to win national attention. But the poster by Logan, an eighth-grader at Hollywood Academy of Arts and Science, won first place in the National Radon Poster contest, which drew 4,000 posters submitted from 33 states, six tribal nations and a military installation.

Her colorful poster features silhouettes of a father and son with the title Keep Your Family Safe. It also states that radon can cause lung cancer. Logan said she wanted to “make people aware” of the dangers of the radioactive gas, which her poster notes is “colorless, odorless, tasteless.”

One of Logan’s eighth-grade teachers , Carolyn Garreau-Jones, wanted students to sign up for the competition, though they also created the poster for a grade.

40 Percent of Illinois Homes Test High for Radon

Moline, Ill. — Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas that causes lung cancer. The Surgeon General lists radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. In Illinois, there are approximately 1160 deaths a year from lung cancer caused by radon.

If everyone could get the radon level in their homes down to 2 pCi/L or less, it could cut the lung cancer deaths from radon in half. With today's mitigation systems that vent radon out of the home, it is often possible to reduce the radon level below 2.

Radon gas comes from the breakdown of uranium, which is present naturally in the soil and rocks. Radon gas can enter the home through openings around pipes, the unsealed sump pit, and where floors and walls join. Radon also enters buildings through the crawl space or cracks in the basement or slab foundation.