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International Green Construction Code

User photo for: Bill Long

Not sure if anyone is following this, but there's an open public comment period underway for the IGCC. I learned today that it is primarily a non-residential-focused (large buildings and schools) code, but that it seems to contain Appendix F, which is residential-focused. Many of you may know far more about this than I.

I'll throw out there that, at least, everyone should be aware of this and consider sending in comments. It will be in place for 3 years, I believe. At best, we might try to pull together a collective set of comments. I realize that this may be a pipe dream as we do not have agreed upon guidance, let alone a consensus standard, for such buildings (although EPA committed to facilitate a process this coming year for schools measurement and mitigation). I

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Question Regarding Ambient Air Radon Testing

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If the radon level in a residential 1 family, ranch styled house (with crawl space beneath the house) is 113 pCi/L how can a tester determine the radon level emitted from the exterior ground outside the house?

My client is concerned about her dog (small hound dog that constantly is sniffing the ground and only stands 6" off the ground) and her very young children that play on the ground outside the house and take naps on blankets lying flat on the ground.

Although I'm sure there is natural remediation of radon emitted from the ground when it mixes with ambient air, but how can she be sure that the level of radon in the air that will likely be inhaled by pets and children is not a dangerous level. What I'm looking for is an E.P.A. approved method to test or verifiable data that has been accumulated by reputable a source(s).

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Launching a Radon Data Exchange Workgroup

Launching a Radon Data Exchange Workgroup

Radon remains a leading cause of cancer. As we to ramp up action to reduce radon’s health risk, two areas we can all get smarter on are the collection and use of data. EPA, states, and several national and regional consortia all collect radon data. These programs have differing data needs, reporting requirements, thresholds, calculation protocols, and approaches to validation and verification. Despite these differences, the data collections share common purposes – improved tracking and understanding of radon exposure. Data is information and information is the programmatic foundation for effective radon risk reduction. People leading these programs need access to data that is reliable, consistent, and comparable across programs. While there is a significant amount of radon data, it is decentralized. EPA wants to launch a partnership effort through RadonLeaders.org to better coordinate the collection of radon data, and aggregate as much available data as possible.

EPA has frequently heard about the desire for a new radon map from the radon community. Currently, developing a new radon map is not a feasible project for EPA to take on. EPA hopes that this data project will help us, and the entire radon community better understand how a new map would serve the radon community and the public, and to try to find alternative, more affordable ways to meet those same needs.

In addition, many in the radon community share the view that the existing EPA Radon Zone Map is used inappropriately. When the map was introduced in the early 1990’s it was intended to show potential levels thereby helping states plan their programs. It has been EPA’s position that every home should be test for radon levels. However, the public and policymakers look for “bright lines,” and the zone designations have taken on a life of their own. They are often the reference point for whether or not actions are taken, with the rationale that policy should be focused in “high risk” areas. True, but the reality is that since radon is such a serious health hazard, even Zone 3 is relatively high risk compared to many other environmental pollutants.

There is much to be gained from the coordination of radon data. To be effective, this partnership project must be driven by stakeholders from across the radon community. We all need to participate.

CLICK HERE to register for an initial meeting. You can also provide your immediate thoughts now. Get involved!

Please respond by Wednesday, December 15, 2010. The first step in this effort will be a conference call on Friday, December 17, 2010 to discuss this work.

Reducing Community Exposure to Radon: A Plan for Community Action

Reducing Community Exposure to Radon: A Plan for Community Action

Citizens for Clean Air in Pueblo for Education, Research, Action (CCAP-ERA), is a non-profit community organization whose mission is to protect the health and quality of life of residents of Southern Colorado. It works through paid staff, volunteers, community partnerships, and grant-funded projects to sponsor public education programs, data-gathering, and activities designed to reduce human exposure to toxic substances, primarily those present in air. It also strives to promote environmental justice among the diverse citizenry of Pueblo and Southern Colorado.

Radon and Vetilation in Residential High-Rise Buildings

User photo for: Henry Slack

Friends and colleagues:

I am looking for any data of ventilation rates in residential high-rise
buildings, and possible radon in them, for a literature review and short

I have two studies now, by Tom Pugh of FL A&M (5 buildings, 5 units) and
Bill Brodhead working in NC (1 building, 5 units). They both show low
ventilation and elevated radon levels in units above the 3rd floor. The
source is likely to be concrete, but I'd like to find more data.

Florida's radon office also has radon data from around 1,000 tests
conducted above the 3rd floor. A third of those tests found radon
levels >4 pCi/L. Some owners have reportedly used ventilation (ERVs) to
lower their radon levels.

Please share with me anything you know of other ventilation or radon
tests in residential high-rise buildings. Also, feel free to re-post
this on any other science list-serves.


Henry Slack
U.S. EPA Region 4
Atlanta, GA

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Radon and loan qualification

User photo for: Jim Medley

To all:

Was wondering if anyone has ran across any situations where the lender has made it mandatory for the radon ( after a radon test has been done ) to be at a certain level?

I am working with a realtor on a job where she stated that the loan originator ( from the Chicago area ) has noted that they will not guarantee the loan or give a interest rate lock until a radon system is installed in the house in question and provide a test where the radon level is at 2.0 pCi/L or lower.

The realtor is speculating that this lender ( and more lenders to come in the near future ) is going to make this more of a reality on loans in general due to the existing market conditions. Any thoughts?

Jim Medley
Radon Systems 4U LLC

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Radon Discovered in Florida Homes and Condos

Radon exceeding EPA limits has been discovered in Florida homes and condos. Several independent studies have concluded the source is contaminated concrete.

"You probably thought radon was only found in northern states with rocky soil, well guess again because it’s being discovered in homes and condos all over Florida," according to Kevin Dickenson, a Palm Beach real estate agent with Prudential Florida Realty.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is responsible for more deaths every year than drunk drivers, according to the EPA. Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless and colorless radioactive gas that can be found in soil, granite, concrete and water. Before you get too excited, radon is also found in the air we breathe, and depending upon where you live, it can be as high as 0.75 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) according to Air Chek, Inc.

The EPA recommends fixing your home if radon levels are 4.0 pCi/L or higher.

Canada plans 800 building code changes

Canada's engineers, architects and builders will get their first look later this month at what could be major revisions to the national building code.

Canadian Consulting Engineer is reporting this week in its online newsletter that the feds will introduce 800 technical changes covering the building code, the fire code and the plumbing code on November 29.

The codes were last updated in 2005.

Some of the changes will encompass public gathering spaces such as sports arenas and stadiums, churches, lecture halls and theaters.

There are changes earthquake design, air quality, radon protection, and water conservation, among others.

Original Post

EPA State Radon Surveys versus state collected data

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I have heard increasing criticisms over the last few years that the EPA radon potential maps are not as accurate (in predicting areas with increased potential for radon exposure) as state collected screening measurement data. Has anyone performed any detailed comparisons within their state? I am particularly interested in comparisons performed in the Midwest.

Bill Field

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Permissible Limits of Radon Concentrations

User photo for: Deveshwori Maibam

I would like to know the most recent permissible limits of Radon Concentrations in air and for drinking water set up by UNSCEAR, ICRP and EPA.


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