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Resource Bank

The Resource Bank features materials and tools such as Webinars and regional pacing event presentations.

Role of Vegetation in Enhancing Radon Concentration and Ion Production in the Atmosphere

E.R. Jayaratne, X. Ling, and L. Morawska
International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation,
Queensland University of Technology, GPO Box 2434, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia

The role of ions in the production of atmospheric particles has gained wide interest due to their profound impact on climate. Away from anthropogenic sources, molecules are ionized by alpha radiation from radon exhaled from the ground and cosmic γ radiation from space. These molecular ions quickly form into “cluster ions”, typically smaller than about 1.5 nm. Using our measurements and the published literature, we present evidence to show that cluster ion concentrations in forest areas are consistently higher than outside.Owing to the low range of alpha particles, radon present deep in the ground cannot


Radon Awareness and Household Testing: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Chrystine Kelley, Environmental Protection Specialist, Radon Coordinator, Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division

Eric Brown, Environmental Data Coordinator, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

During calendar year 2009, a series of questions was added to the Colorado Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to determine residents’ awareness and response to the presence of radon gas in household air. The survey participants were asked if they knew what radon was and if their household air had been tested for it. If the house had been tested for radon the survey further asked if the test result was above the remediation action limit of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) and what their response to a high radon test result was. The 4 pCi/L action limit was set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA recommends that at, or above, this level a radon mitigation system be installed.


Dose Estimation and Radon Action Level Problems Due to Nanosize Radon Progeny

One of the essential parameters influencing of the dose conversion factor is the ratio of unattached shortlived radon progeny. This may differ from the value identified for indoor conditions when considering
special workplaces such as mines. Inevitably, application of the dose conversion factors used in surface
workplaces considerably reduces the reliability of dose estimation in the case of mines.

This paper surveyed the concentration of radon and its short-lived radon progeny and identified the
unattached fraction of short-lived radon progeny. As well equilibrium factor during the month of August
was calculated simultaneously at two extraction faces in a manganese ore mine.

During working hours the average radon concentrations were 220 Bq m3 and 530 Bq m3 at Faces 1
and 2; the average short-lived progeny concentration was 90 Bq m3 and 190 Bq m3, the average
equilibrium factors were 0.46 and 0.36, and the average unattached fractions were 0.21 and 0.17,


Two Error Components Model for Measurement Error: Application to Radon

In this paper, a simple model for analysing variability in radon concentrations in homes is tested. The
approach used here involves two error components, representing additive and multiplicative errors,
together with variation between-houses. We use a Bayesian approach for our analysis and apply this
model to two datasets of repeat radon measurements in homes; one based on 3-month long
measurements for which the original measurements were close to the current UK Radon Action Level
(200 Bq m3), and the other based on 6-month measurement data (from regional and national surveys),
for which the original measurements cover a wide range of radon concentrations, down to very low
levels. The model with two error components provides a better fit to these datasets than does a model
based on solely multiplicative errors.


Reducing Radon Levels in Existing Homes: A Canadian Guide for Professional Contractors

Capping a two year effort, Health Canada is poised to release English and French versions of radon mitigation guidance documents. The guides will join earlier publications produced in Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, and elsewhere.

The guides were originally developed by Arthur Scott who brought active soil depressurization to the radon control efforts and who was a lead investigator on much of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mitigation research and demonstration projects. The Working Group Coordinator was Isabelle Vézina, a tireless colleague who has given important leadership to Health Canada’s radon program including French-language outreach. At the risk of offending those not named, the Working Group members included a name well known in the building science aspects of indoor air quality: Don Fugler, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The 60 page guide is exceptionally well illustrated and clearly organized with 14 chapters:


Swiss National Radon Action Plan Addresses New Challenges

On May 25, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health released a new eight year national plan to address the World Health Organization’s findings or elevated risk associated with indoor radon. The plan speaks of radon in a variety of clear ways: “It can penetrate insidiously into homes and dwellings ...”.

The plan includes a summary of the health risk data that is clearly summarized in the following statement: From the pooling of European residential radon and lung cancer case control studies “corroborated by similar studies carried out in North America and China, demonstrate that the risk associated with prolong exposure to radon in residences is more serious than was foreseen by extrapolating the risk observed for (underground) miners . . .”.


Movement and Sources of Basement Ventilation Air and Moisture During ASD Radon Control

EPA’s Indoor Environments Division commissioned an Exploratory Study of Basement Moisture During Operation of ASD Radon Control Systems, under a cooperative agreement with Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. The principal investigator was Brad Turk of Environmental Building Sciences, Inc., Las Vegas, New Mexico. The purpose of the study was to better understand the potential moisture reduction benefits from the operation of residential radon control systems. The report contains information of interest to a wide variety of audiences. Therefore, EPA is making this contractor’s report publicly available. Because it is a contractor’s report, its findings, conclusions and recommendations are those of its authors, not necessarily those of EPA. The Agency believes that this information may be useful to industry associations, standard-setting organizations, government agencies and consumers.


Radiation and Cancer Risk: A Continuing Challenge for Epidemiologists

This paper provides a perspective on epidemiological research on radiation and cancer, a field that has evolved over its six decade history. The review covers the current framework for assessing radiation risk and persistent questions about the details of these risks: is there a threshold and more generally, what is the shape of the dose-response relationship? How do risks vary over time and with age? What factors modify the risk of radiation? The example of radon progeny and lung cancer is considered as a case study, illustrating the modeling of epidemiological data to derive quantitative models and the coherence of the epidemiological and biological evidence. Finally, the manuscript considers the need for ongoing research, even in the face of research over a 60-year span.

Environ Health. 2011; 10(Suppl 1): S4.
Published online 2011 April 5. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-10-S1-S4.


2011 U.S. EPA Region 6 Radon Stakeholder's Workshop Materials

The U.S. EPA Region 6 Radon Stakeholder's Workshop was held on March 28, 2011, in Little Rock, Ark. A pacing event for the Radon Leaders Saving Lives Campaign, the Workshop provided an opportunity for states, tribes and Regional representatives in Region 6 to share best practices from the field and to talk about how to apply that learning to drive results and save lives. The complete materials from the Workshop are available for download.

View or download the Workshop agenda and contact lists.
View or download the Workshop presentation slides.


Epidemiological Evidence for Possible Radiation Hormesis from Radon Exposure

Epidemiological Evidence for Possible Radiation Hormesis from Radon Exposure: A Case-Control Study Conducted in Worcester, Ma.

Richard E. Thompson, Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health