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Radon in the News

Radon Exposure Risk Could be Greater than Expected, Effects Difficult to Measure

RENO — More than two decades after U.S. regulators first issued guidelines on radon infiltration into homes and buildings, the World Health Organization reports that the radon threat to human health is much more serious than previously known.

The news could be particularly significant to communities in the Sierra Nevada, rich with radon exposure from the presence of decomposing granite. Forty percent of the homes tested in South Lake Tahoe have elevated levels of radon, according to the California Department of Health Radon Database. That's at or above 4 picocuries per liter — the Environmental Protection Agency's “fix-it” standard for radon.

Two years ago, the WHO set a lower standard for fixing residential radon: 2.7 pCi/L, moving more homes into the danger zone.

Radon gas is linked to 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year, second only to cigarette smoking, according to the EPA. It is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers.

Warning Made Over Radon Poisoning in Jersey (Europe)

Warning Made Over Radon Poisoning in Jersey (Europe)

A Jersey man who fears his father's fatal lung cancer was caused by radon emitted by his house is calling for greater awareness about the issue.

Timothy Hanson believes his father Vernon could have inhaled the odourless gas through his house's granite walls.

Radon, if inhaled, emits particles that can damage the lungs.

Val Cameron from Jersey's health department said the risk from radon was relatively low but admitted problems could occur when the gas builds up.

'Good ventilation'

She said: "Naturally, if it comes up in the soil on a field or in a garden, it just dissipates into the atmosphere and is not a risk at all.

"But if it comes up into the sub-floor of a house where you have got a wooden suspended floor and a space under the house, the gas can build up in that space.

"What we have been trying to advise people is that there should always be good ventilation of that sub-floor space."

Announcement and Invitation: 21st National Radon Training Conference

Announcement and Invitation: 21st National Radon Training Conference

October 16 - 19, 2011
Hilton in Walt Disney World
Orlando, Florida

The Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Inc. (CRCPD) is sponsoring this conference and training with financial assistance from: Office of Radiation and Indoor Air, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

We invite you to join us in Orlando, Florida, and look forward to seeing you there. All of the information in this announcement and invitation, along with additional items or changes when
they become available, will be available on CRCPD's website. Check the website for all updates.

Radon: Is Your Home Trapping Radiation?

Invisible to the senses, radon enters your home from underground and can concentrate inside, contributing to incidents of lung cancer.

Some of most dangerous pollutants inside your home are invisible to the senses. Their affect on your health can be cumulative, slowly contributing to poorer health over months or years. Radon is principle among them.

Radon is radioactive gas that enters your home through the soil and water flowing underground. Radon gas comes from the natural decay of uranium found in the Earth’s soil.

You can’t see, smell or taste radon. Radon can enter your home through cracks in your foundation, gaps around service pipes or suspended floors, cavities in walls, or the water supply. Radon gas can be found in buildings throughout the United States, indicating a need for testing in all areas.

Most Kentuckians Ignore Radon Threat

For decades, Kentuckians have known they’re vulnerable to radon, but many are not protecting themselves. The radioactive gas collects in crawl spaces and basements, and has been linked to health problems. Much of central Kentucky is troubled by radon gas. Thanks to the region’s limestone and caves, radon levels here are much higher than the national average.

“Radon basically stems from decay of uranium in the ground so it’s a form of radiation,” said Clay Hardwick.

State radon coordinator Clay Hardwick says radon levels in over 40 percent of tested homes exceed limits set by the U-S Environmental Protection Agency. Medical researchers have established a link between the gas and lung cancer. Hardwick says it’s difficult to determine which lung cancers in Kentucky can be directly blamed on radon.

“At this point there is no real stream line method of collecting that type of information, I mean, the right people are not connected at this point in time,” added Hardwick.

Health Canada Firm on Radon Testing

Health Canada won't budge from its position that more testing should be done on a cancer-causing gas seeping into homes at Tobique First Nation, arguing that people's health won't be jeopardized by waiting several more months for repairs.

Len O'Neill, a regional manager of environmental public health, says the results from preliminary testing on about 350 homes in the community in northwest New Brunswick are too inconclusive.

"We take the health and safety of all the residents in the community seriously, as well as their concerns. However, the research shows the health risk is long-term, over decades, to the elevated levels of radon."

Throop Borough Plans Special Meeting on Gas-drilling Waste

Thomas Lukasewicz has sent out 130 letters in an attempt to spread word about the special town-hall meeting on natural gas drilling waste that the borough will hold next month.

The letters the Throop Borough Council president sent were to various government officials and specialized doctors, as well as to every school district, municipality, borough and township in Lackawanna County in hopes of packing the Throop Civic Center on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 6:30, with individuals who can voice their concerns, as well as listen to Mr. Lukasewicz's, regarding Marcellus Shale drilling waste being dumped in the Keystone Sanitary Landfill.

Mr. Lukasewicz said his major concern is the possibility of long-term air contamination in the form of radon gas from drilling waste affecting the health of not only the 4,100 residents of Throop, but the entire state.

Commonwealth Collaboratives at University of Kentucky named Exemplary Projects by Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities

Ellen Hahn's Clean Indoor Air Initiative and Chris Barton's Reclamation of Surface-Mined Lands Initiative were recently named Exemplary Projects

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2011) − Two of the University of Kentucky's Commonwealth Collaboratives recently were named Exemplary Projects by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

The Collaboratives, engagement efforts between UK and Kentucky communities, are designed to address entrenched problems in the state. The projects help to improve the health, education, economy, environment, natural resources and quality of life for Kentucky residents. The Clean Indoor Air Initiative led by Ellen Hahn and the Reclamation of Surface-Mined Lands Initiative led by Chris Barton received the recent designations from APLU as part of the Association's C. Peter Magrath/W.K. Kellogg Engagement Award program.

Few Steps Taken to Address Iowa’s Growing Radon Threat

Watch the KCRG news segment.

Iowa- For Gail Orcutt it started with a cough and a wheeze — probably little to worry about for a thin woman who worked out and ate healthfully.

It got worse in that spring of 2010. Soon the wheezing came with every breath. So Orcutt went to the doctor. Then she had a lung biopsy. It was cancer.

Along with a fungus called aspergillosis, doctors found a cancerous tumor growing in a bronchial tube in the lower lobe of Orcutt’s left lung. Why did she, an otherwise healthy non-smoker, get lung cancer?

New EPA Campaign to Protect Workers from Top Cancer Cause

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies have joined forces to reduce exposure to radon, one of the leading causes of lung cancer. According to the environmental agency, radon exposure causes some 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year and is the second leading cause of the disease in the United States.

Through the Federal Radon Action Plan, agencies will demonstrate the importance of radon risk reduction, address finance and incentive issues regarding testing and mitigation, and build demand for services from industry professionals. According to EPA, “the plan will help spur greater action in the marketplace, create jobs in the private sector, and significantly reduce exposure to radon.”

Specific steps described in the plan include:

  • Incorporating radon testing and mitigation into federal programs,
  • Launching an outreach initiative to educate families about the risks,