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Radon in the News

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.

Plentiful Radon in the Commonwealth of KY

Plentiful Radon in the Commonwealth of KY

Listen to this news segment.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WKMS) - The geology of the Commonwealth makes it a prime spot for horses, bourbon and radon gas. Radon, which often accumulates in homes, has long been linked to lung cancer. Many homeowners hire firms that check for radon and then install equipment that disperses the gas. But, some of those experts should not be trusted.

Louisville resident Nancy Huhn grew up in a household where cigarette smoke was common and worked for years alongside smokers. Four years ago at age 50 she was diagnosed with lung cancer. But, Huhn says specialists at Vanderbilt found no link between her cancer and second-hand smoke.

A Silent Killer: Video and Article

Watch the CBS 42 news segment.

There's a killer lurking in and around your home and you may not even know it. Dead bolts and window locks are no match; in fact you could be in danger right now!

That killer is Radon, a radioactive gas. It's a deadly by-product of decaying Uranium in the ground.

How deadly? Consider this; Radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Claiming more lives annually than drunk driving and house fires, combined!

According to the surgeon general, Radon exposure is second only to smoking as the leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Scary! When you consider more people who've never touched a cigarette are developing lung cancer. According to Dr. Veena Antony for those who do smoke Radon only increases their risk of getting it.

Hollywood Student Honored for Radon Poster

Logan Stewart, an eighth-grader at the Hollywood Academy of Arts & Science, recently won an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., after winning a national radon poster contest.

Stewart, who competed against 4,000 students from 33 states, especially enjoyed touring the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian and the Washington Monument.

"I didn't expect to win, but I worked real hard on the poster, and I am glad that I got awarded for it," she said. "I had a lot of fun working on it. "

"It's an honor for the school," said Principal Donte' Fulton. "We are very proud of her and her teachers who have been coaching her."

The annual poster contest, sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, aims to educate students, their parents and others about the dangers of radon, a toxic gas.

Radon Exposure Help Sought

Harrisburg, Ill. —

State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) is sponsoring legislation that will help ensure healthier radon-free living standards for renters here in the state of Illinois.

"I feel that it is very important that those who choose to rent here in Illinois are covered by safeguards much like this, so tenants will not have to worry about their health and complications that could arise as a result of renting an apartment or house that might be contaminated with radon," said Phelps.

"This measure is not about requiring more regulations and standards to burden landlords, but more importantly, it is about the safety this measure will provide for both parties involved when they enter any lease agreement."

Test to Find Out Radon Levels, Get Lowered by Certified Mitigator

Some areas have higher concentration potential than others, but homes with elevated radon concentrations have been found in every county in Nevada.

Any building with contact to the soil can have a radon problem because radon comes from the decay of uranium, which can be found in rock and soil underneath our homes, offices and schools.

The good news is that radon levels are easy to test for and high levels can be lowered by a certified mitigator.

Results collected since 1989 show that about one in four Nevada homes have elevated radon levels, yet many homeowners have not tested for radon. This might be because radon is an odorless, colorless, invisible gas and there are no immediate adverse, visible effects.

Radon gas quietly enters homes through cracks in the floor, construction joints and gaps around service pipes.

5 Questions About Radon: a Q&A with PA Radon Program Manager

NAME: Robert K. Lewis
TITLE: Program manager, radon division
COMPANY: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
YEARS IN FIELD: 25

Q: What is radon gas, and how does it get into homes?

A: Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas, arising from the breakdown of uranium that is found distributed in the soil and rocks of the earth’s crust.

Pennsylvania is particularly prone to radon problems compared with much of the rest of the country. This is due to our geology and soil characteristics.

Breathing a Sigh of Relief: Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

Is the air in your home making you sick? After a recent sinus infection, I began to re-evaluate the quality of the air inside my home. According to an oft-cited statistic from the American Lung Association, Americans spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors, yet the air inside our homes can be two to five times more polluted than the air outdoors.

Here are some suggestions for reducing indoor air pollution that will have your lungs breathing a sigh of relief.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are nasty-looking creatures that are a frequent contributor to allergies and asthma attacks. Measuring only 1/100th of an inch, they resemble microscopic insects with eight legs and no wings or antennae. Because mites consume dead skin cells, they tend to congregate in our bedding, carpets, rugs and furniture. According to Dustmites.org, "Densities of dust mites in the typical used mattress can range from 100,000 to 10 million individual mites."

Video: EPA's Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Tells Her Personal Radon Story

Video: EPA's Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Tells Her Personal Radon Story

Janet McCabe, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at EPA, talks about her personal radon experience.

Watch the video.

Read the full transcript.