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Radon in the News

Feds Launch Action Plan to Protect People and Families from Radon

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Veterans Affairs have joined forces to help save lives and create healthier home and school environments for America’s families. The plan brings together commitments that help to reduce exposure to radon and protect the health of Americans through leveraging and advancing existing state, local, and national programs. Radon exposure is the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer and leads to an estimated 21,000 deaths each year.

USDA Offers Funding to Help Rural Illinois Residents Address Radon Leaks

According to a news release from the State of Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the USDA is offering federal funding in order to help rural Illinois residents fix problems with radon in their homes.

Radon has become a major problem in rural homes in Illinois. IEMA reported that of all homes that were tested for radon in the state, nearly 40 percent were found to have high levels of the dangerous lung toxin. The USDA is offering aid to rural Illinois residents in the form of both grants and loans.

Record Number of Homes in Ireland Have High Radon

A record number of homes throughout the country have been identified as having high levels of radon, including one house in north Kerry which had some of the highest levels of the cancer causing gas ever identified in Europe.

Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas present in all rocks and soils, is classified as a class A carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. When it surfaces in the open air, it is quickly diluted to harmless concentrations. However, when it enters an enclosed space, such as a house, it can sometimes build up to high concentrations, leading to an 'unacceptable health risk'.

After smoking, long-term exposure to radon gas in the home is the greatest single cause of lung cancer in Ireland. The gas is linked to up to 200 cancer deaths here every year.

Another Climate Change Concern: Indoor Air

Add another one to the list of unintended consequences.

As we try to button up our workplaces and homes for better energy efficiency, we may be creating or exacerbating other problems.

Sure, it saves on heat and air-conditioning to seal leaks. But if there's a damp and moldy basement, or radon seepage, those problems could worsen. Indeed, officials in this region, where radon is a problem, recommend retesting for radon if a home's air leaks are sealed significantly.

A report released June 7 by the Institute of Medicine and sponsored by the federal Environmental Protection Agency said people may face unexpected health problems from all this.

"The push to improve buildings' energy efficiency has spurred more rapid introduction of untested new materials and building retrofits that limit and alter air flow and may concentrate indoor pollutants such as chemical emissions and environmental tobacco smoke," a press release about the report says.

4 Pollutants That May Make Your Home Unsafe

4 Pollutants That May Make Your Home Unsafe

Your house is your home, it should be a place to relax, be with family and, most of all, a place where you should feel safe. Many people may not be aware that there are several indoor air pollutants that could create dangerous situations in your home if not properly prevented and detected. The following is a list of some of the most common indoor air pollutants, their effects on health and how to detect and prevent them.

1. Asbestos
This indoor air pollutant is a mineral fiber that has been used in a variety of building products to increase resistance to fire. Due to adverse health effects, a ban was placed on some asbestos products, and manufacturers have limited its production. Harmful forms of asbestos still remain in older homes, in pipes, shingles and some textured paints.

Researchers Awarded $250,000 in Competitive Research Grants

The University of South Dakota, in Vermillion, SD, announced recently that three of the five grants from the state’s Competitive Research Grant Program have been awarded to USD faculty.

The grant program, managed by the South Dakota Board of Regents, invests in researchers to enhance the research capabilities and capacities of the state universities and benefits the state’s economic development. USD grant monies total $264,350. The recipients include:

Hongmin Wang – Role of Ubiguilin in Ischemic Stroke - $93,450 - Stroke is a leading cause of high mortality and long-term disability in the United States and is associated with excessive production of aberrant proteins. However, the effect of these aberrant proteins on nerve cell repair following strokes remains unclear. Dr. Wang’s research project proposes the study of the removal of aberrant proteins on the survival of nerve cells following stroke.

It's My Job: Home Inspector Scrutinizes Conditions from all Angles

It's My Job: Home Inspector Scrutinizes Conditions from all Angles

Fargo - Lars Knobloch likes to poke around what are often private areas in a home.

He peers into cabinets, crawls through attics, and scours the hidden recesses of basements.

It’s not that he’s nosy. It’s his job.

Knobloch does real estate inspections as well as testing for mold, asbestos, lead, radon and allergens through his business, Nordic Home Inspection.

“People save money on home inspections, really, because they will find things and they can negotiate with the seller,” Knobloch said. “I see more and more sellers are doing home inspections so they can show buyers the condition of the house. If there would be a major problem that would scare the potential buyers away, the seller could just take care of it.”

Knobloch moved to the area from Namsos, Norway, two years ago in March and started his business the beginning of last year.

Q: How has business been going?

A Doctor Who Must Navigate a Contentious Divide

After years of weighing in on issues like secondhand tobacco smoke and radon exposure, Dr. Jonathan Samet is accustomed to controversy.

And last week, Dr. Samet, a University of Southern California physician and epidemiologist, found himself at the center of debate again as chairman of a World Health Organization committee ruling on the health effects of cellphone use. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which consisted of 31 scientists from 14 countries, concluded that cellphones are “possibly carcinogenic,” putting the devices in the same category as about 260 chemicals, pesticides and other substances, including coffee, that might lead to certain cancers.

Cell-Phone Concerns Join Bigger Threats in Your Home

Cell-Phone Concerns Join Bigger Threats in Your Home

Today's reported link between cell-phone use and brain cancer is the latest salvo in a debate about whether gabbing on your cell phone poses health risks. But there's little argument about the health threats of radon, lead, arsenic, volatile organic compounds, and other hazards that lurk in most homes. Here are some tips—and products from Consumer Reports tests—that can help you find and conquer those issues.

Radon Gas: Do I Detect a Problem?

Radon Gas: Do I Detect a Problem?

This past March, Portland grocers found themselves in an unlikely scenario: There was a run on sea kelp. Locations like the New Seasons Market on Hawthorne were soon completely out, and a little sign promised that more would be ordered. Why had this happened? The answer was global. Portlanders were wondering if they would need the kelp—a natural source of iodine—to block the radioactive iodine spewing from the Fukushima reactors after the devastating earthquake and tsunamis hit Japan.

In the Nuclear Age, there is nothing like radioactivity to grab our attention. It is the ultimate hot topic. So could this be a good time to remind everyone of another threat —not from the sky—but from uranium decaying in the ground? Could this be the time to revisit the subject of radon gas?