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Radon in the News

Pennsylvania DEP Orders Radon Contractor to Surrender Certification, Pay Penalty

NORRISTOWN -- The Department of Environmental Protection today ordered Christopher Ford, of Abington Township, Montgomery County, to surrender his state radon testing certification and pay $58,875 in civil penalties for numerous violations of the Radon Certification Act and Radiation Protection Act.

“Mr. Ford misrepresented the type of state certification held by his firm, and allowed an uncertified employee to perform radon system work,” DEP Southeast Regional Director Joseph A. Feola said. “Our inspectors documented 82 violations of radon system installation standards, along with eight violations of testing and quality assurance regulations.”

DEP noted the violations during June 2010 inspections of 15 radon systems installed by Ford’s firm, Environmental Concepts Technology, and cited him for not discharging radon above roof lines; not sealing floor and wall joints; failing to conduct post-mitigation testing; and not attaching system documentation to radon system units.

Uranium Mining and Radiation

Uranium Mining and Radiation

EXPERTS says the slow decay of uranium that produces radiation is too slow to pose a threat to workers or the general community.

The recent Seventh Australian Uranium Conference brought together prospective miners, researchers and interested members of the public for a wide ranging discussion on the industry ahead of likely proposals to mine uranium in WA.

The issue has often divided West Australians, with concerns ranging from health to environmental issues.

However Curtin University Nanochemistry Research Institute Associate Professor Nigel Marks says radiation is produced every time one atom changes into another atom, and the process is so slow that health risks from radiation are minimal.

“For both types of uranium, it takes about ten changes before it finally turns into lead. So the amount of radiation is related to how much you have of those numbers of atoms and also what the rate of change is—those two things determine the radiation.”

Radon Regulation Varies Widely from State to State

Californians are required to disclose the radon level in their home, if known, before transferring it to a new owner.

Nevadans are not.

In both states, renters are particularly vulnerable.

“There are no regulations to protect renters from radon in Nevada,” said Susan Howe, radon education program director for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. “There are no regulations dealing with radon in Nevada, period. There are no laws to protect people when they buy or build homes.”

More people die each year from radon exposure than from drunk driving accidents, falls in the home, drownings and home fires, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The known carcinogen — undetectable by sight, smell or taste — is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and the second-leading cause of lung cancer for smokers. Radon exposure causes an estimated 21,000 deaths per year in the United States.

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.