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Radon in the News

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.

Kentucky HB 247 for Radon Licensure Passes

Kentucky HB 247 for Licensure of Radon Contractors made it through its 3rd reading and passed 37-0 on March 2nd. Language in the bill was changed as it went through the House and Senate. More details on how this bill will affect the State Program and Radon Professionals will follow in the next couple of weeks.

To read more about this bill, visit http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/11RS/HB247.htm.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Testimony Before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies

Release date: 03/03/2011
Contact Information: EPA Press Office press@epa.gov 202-564-6794
As prepared for delivery.

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Moran, and Members of the Subcommittee: Thank you for inviting me to testify about President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget request for the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Down Under: Basement is Cheapest Route to Adding Space

The Down Under: Basement is Cheapest Route to Adding Space

Options are down for homeowners looking to increase their living space – down as in the basement.

“The cheapest way to add livable space to your house is to finish the basement,” said Jake Waltz, general manager of ITG Basement Systems. “If you have a ranch house, it doubles your space, and it doesn’t cost as much as any other option.”

Waltz, who has been with the Northumberland-based company for 18 years, said the first step is to eliminate all sources of water and moisture.

“Water can’t be stopped. It has to be managed,” Waltz said. “We use a water-management system, and when we’re done putting it in, it’s dry. It’s how we can cover just about everything with a lifetime transferable warranty.”

Waltz said new homes almost never come with a water-management system in place because they add to the cost of construction. The price tag varies depending on the size of the area and whether any structural issues need addressing, he said, but the average is about $5,000.