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AARST Announces Emerging Risk Reduction Sectors for the 25th InternationalRadon Symposium

AARST Announces Emerging Risk Reduction Sectors for the 25th InternationalRadon Symposium

The 25th International Radon Symposium, sponsored by the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST), will introduce pre-conference courses and an expanded practicum section at its Springfield, Illinois conference, September 22-25, 2013. The section will concentrate on the emerging risk reduction sectors of multifamily radon testing and mitigation, and radon new construction standards.

Radon,which is the second leading cause of lung cancer and can be deemed the seventh leading cause (after leukemia when separated from lung cancer) of all cancers, is a naturally occurring radioactive gas responsible for over 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually in the United States.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Health Radon Video

The Minnesota Departments of Public Safety and Health are teaming up to bring awareness to the dangers of radon. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Any home, regardless of its size or location, can pull up radon gases from the ground. Many people might be breathing in these deadly gases and never know. We hope this informational video will motivate you to get a radon test kit.

We talked to James Kelly, M.S., Supervisor for the Indoor Air Unit and asked a few questions about the video. In addition, we inquired as to other efforts that have taken place during the 2012 National Radon Action Month. First, we asked how the video came about and requested more information on how he was able to get the Commissioners of Public Safety on camera. His response was the following:

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Congratulations 2011 Radon Mini Grant Winners

CRCPD has awarded six mini-grants for the 2011 Radon Mini Grant Program. Congratulations to the following state programs and their respective community partners:

  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency and American Lung Association in Illinois
  • Nebraska DHHS Radon Program and Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department
  • Ohio Department of Health, Indoor Radon Program and Erie County Health Department
  • Maine DHHS Radiation Control Program and the Maine Indoor Air
  • Quality Council
  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Southern Illinois Hospital Services
  • Nebraska DHHS Radon Program and Panhandle Public Health District

Radon levels in Hamilton schools not known, resident says

A Waterdown resident is urging the local school board and provincial government introduce mandatory testing in high risk areas for radon — the second leading cause of lung cancer among Canadians.

A colourless and odourless gas that is naturally produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, radon can seep through a crack in a building’s foundation.

Robert Graham has been in a two-year long battle with government officials to have testing done at school sites.

“I think the fear is if they test a few of the schools, especially the one-level schools, that if they found that they have high levels that everybody is going to panic,” he said. “It’s not to cause panic it’s just to see are kids still going to schools that may have this radon leakage problem - you don’t know unless you test.”

A grandfather to four children, Graham said the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board has so far been mum on whether it will test some of its facilities.

Drive to improve housing can bring unintended consequences

The UK is one of only a handful of countries that has put in place legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels. How the country intends to go about meeting these targets is another matter entirely.

Until now, the government has seen improving the energy efficiency of millions of British homes as low hanging fruit that can provide easy emissions reductions. And housing is certainly a major contributor, generating 27% of the country’s total emissions.

Improving insulation, making homes airtight, and introducing smart energy meters are all part of the government’s plan. Huge sums of money are currently being invested on refurbishing properties, which while preferable to wholesale demolition, needs to be guided by well-rounded policies. The latest approach for funding these changes is through the Green Deal, a loan attached to a house paid back through its energy bills.

Downers Grove adopts rules to reduce radon

Downers Grove is updating its building code to include new state rules aimed at reducing radon in new construction.

The Village Council recently approved a mandate that all new residences in town must be built with "passive radon resistant construction," in line with a state law passed in June.

Community Development Director Tom Dabareiner said the law was enacted in response to the growing consensus that radon poses significant health risks. The council approved the measure at its April 1 meeting with all in attendance voting in favor. Commissioners Sean P. Durkin and Geoff Neustadt were absent.

"There's a large portion of the state where there is a significant amount of radon that's found in the soil and then a couple of areas where it's medium," Dabareiner said.

Watchdog Report: Is your school free of radon?

Only a test can find it, yet schools go untested

Radon, an invisible killer, has gone undetected in more than half of New York’s school buildings because testing for the naturally occurring gas is not required.

A analysis by Central New York Media Group of the most recent school building condition reports at the state Education Department found the reports indicate that 1,832 school buildings have not been tested for radon.

More than 400 of those buildings are in 34 counties designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as having high potential for elevated indoor radon levels, according to the newspaper’s analysis of the condition reports for 3,136 public school buildings outside of New York City.

The presence of untested school buildings in potentially high-radon areas runs counter to long-standing advice of public health experts and the EPA.

Simple Blood Test to Spot Early Lung Cancer Getting Closer

One of these days, there could well be a simple blood test that can help diagnose and track cancers. We aren't there yet, but a burst of research in this area shows we are getting a lot closer.

In the latest of these studies, scientists have used blood samples to identify people with lung cancer.

At the Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Maximilian Diehn spends some of his time as a radiation oncologist treating patients with cancer, and some of his time delving into the world of DNA. In particular, he's been working on ways to detect DNA that has been shed from a tumor and ends up in a patient's blood.

"The problem has been that there's a very small amount of the DNA there, usually, so it's very hard to detect," Diehn says.

But new technologies allow him to find tiny amounts of DNA and scan large parts of it to look for mutations that come from tumors. And that opens up all sorts of possibilities.

West Salem cancer cases attract international interest, more research

A Massachusetts-based researcher will partner with experts in Oregon and England to study whether there is a link between radon and a rare childhood bone cancer called osteosarcoma.

The study was prompted by a cancer cluster in West Salem, said Chris Neurath, research director for the American Environmental Health Studies Project. Neurath has been studying osteosarcoma for about eight years, he said.

At least five West Salem children were diagnosed with osteosarcoma between 2008 and 2012. Three have died.

“This cluster is very dramatic in terms of numbers and the improbability that it could occur by chance,” Neurath said.

A 2006 study in England found a strong link between osteosarcoma and radon in homes. No such study has been done in the United States, Neurath said.

“The West Salem situation seemed like an opportunity that was rather unusual, that could help find out causes of osteosarcoma generally, not just in West Salem,” he said.

Our county at high risk for radon

La Plata County is one of 12 counties in the state to be upgraded to high risk for radon.

Radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas produced by the decay of uranium in rocks and soil, is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause of cancer overall in the United States.

Half the homes in Colorado test above the recommended mitigation level, Chrystine Kelley, manager of the radon program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said by telephone Monday.

In some areas, 60 to 70 percent of homes fall into that category, she said.

The danger lies in breathing what are called radon daughters – microscopic particles that bind with dust and smoke or collect on walls.

Prolonged exposure to radon causes 350 to 1,400 deaths in Colorado annually, said Wendy Rice with the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Office.