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Radon, uranium testing spikes with surge in home sales

For Portland native Kate McCabe, moving from a home hooked into the public water system to one with a private well was as much about having safe drinking water as it was about expanding the space for her growing family. So when the inspector for the house she and her husband planned to buy in North Yarmouth recommended thorough testing of the air and water, McCabe, who has a 2-year-old and another baby on the way, readily agreed. And she's glad she did. The test results showed extremely high air and water radon and water uranium readings, and she almost backed out of the deal.

"I tried to talk to as many people as I could as fast as I could," says McCabe, 35. "I called at least 10 different companies." She decided to negotiate with the sellers to pay for air and water mitigation systems, and after they agreed to pay the nearly $18,000 expense, she agreed to the sale and plans to move in toward the end of September, after the systems are installed.

23rd National Radon Training Conference, September 22 – 25, 2013

23rd National Radon Training Conference, September 22 – 25, 2013

We invite you to join us in Springfield and look forward to seeing you there.  Please click here to find a tentative agenda and other important information about this conference.

Element of the week: Radon

This week's element is radon, which has the chemical symbol Rn and the atomic number 86. Radon is the largest and heaviest of the noble gases that are known to exist, and thus, it's the last one we will meet. Radon's name is derived from radium, a radioactive element that emits radon as it decays. For this reason, radon was originally known as "radium emanation", although it was also known as thoron ("thorium emanation") and actinon ("actinium emanation") since it was also emitted by these elements. In 1912, the name, niton (derived from Latin for "shining" in recognition of its radioluminosity), with the chemical symbol, Nt, was approved as the name for radon. This name was formally changed to radon in 1923 after it was realised that thoron and actinon were also radioisotopes of the same nobel gas.

Iowa Senate Says Schools Should Test for Radon

Schools would be required to test for radon, a colorless, odorless gas that can leak through cracks in building foundations, under legislation that passed the Iowa Senate on Wednesday.

The measure won bipartisan support, passing through Senate 37-13. It now moves to the House.

The bill would require public and private schools to test for the gas and install a system to expel it from buildings. It also would require residential construction companies to install pipes to extract the gas from homes built after Jan. 1, 2015.

Bill sponsor Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, said it would be negligent for lawmakers to do nothing to protect Iowa residents from radon.

Radon Bill Passes Senate, Will Be Put Into Action

A bill inspired by a KSL investigation made it through the Senate Thursday evening, the last night of the legislative session, and will soon be put into action.

SCR11 is a resolution taking aim at Utah's radon gas problem. It the first action Utah has taken on the issue, despite over two decades of warnings.

However, the resolution is not a law; it's a request asking homeowners to test for radon, realtors to educate and government agencies to give time and money to the cause. It also designates January 2014 as Utah State Radon Action Month. In short, the resolution is more about education than mandates.

Public Review of AARST’s Radon Mitigation Standards for Multifamily Buildings Open Until March 18, 2013

The AARST Consortium on National Radon Standards notes that public review for a new American National Standard, BSR/AARST RMS-MF-201x, Radon Mitigation Standards for Multifamily Buildings, is open and the organization is seeking comments by March 18, 2013 on this new standard, which can be ordered for review purposes at standards@aarst.org.

In order to meet a pressing need for mitigating multifamily buildings, the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists recently released a provisional standard that is identical to the document currently being noticed.

Gary Hodgden, Chair of the Consortium’s Executive Stakeholders Committee, said the proposed radon standard is undergoing an consensus development process following AARST's accredited procedures and is working towards publication within two years as an American National Standard (ANS.)

Educational Green Home Display at PA Farm Show

Educational Green Home Display at PA Farm Show

We participated in the Pennsylvania Farm Show with the Department of Environmental Protection's Educational Green Home Display--a display that has since been entered in national competition (the Modular Exhibit Design or "MOD" Awards) for Best Graphics!

Experts Stress Radon Gas Awareness

Andrew Gilbert wants Minnesotans to test for radon.

A colorless, odorless and radioactive gas that comes from soil, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in the United States, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

“We need to stress that this is a persistent health risk in Minnesota,” said Gilbert, a radon program specialist at the MDH.

Minnesota and several other states require homes to have working carbon monoxide detectors, but most states don’t mandate radon testing.

“Ironically, the risk from dying from radon that you are exposed to in the home is about 70 times greater than dying from carbon monoxide exposure in the home,” said Bill Angell, a University of Minnesota professor who has studied indoor air quality and radon extensively.

The MDH estimates one in three Minnesota homes has radon levels that pose a severe health risk for people over many years of exposure, and experts say testing is needed.

Radon Primer: How to Test Your Home For It, and Make Fixes If Needed

When news of elevated indoor-radon risk in the Portland area broke last month, I figured saying home test kits were "widely available" and briefly describing the typical fix would do the trick.

Wrong. The questions from readers, co-workers and neighbors keep coming in.

The risk is real -- radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after smoking -- though not astronomical. The Environmental Protection Agency figures 21,000 people a year, 18,000 smokers and 3,000 nonsmokers, die of lung cancer from exposure from radon, a radioactive gas drawn from soil into homes.