National Radon Summit Explores Strategies to Address Deadly Gas

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January 2006 is National Radon Action Month. As a build-up to the month-long effort to promote radon testing and mitigation, the Alliance co-sponsored a December national leadership summit on radon in housing.

test your home for radon every two years, and retest any time you move, make structural changes to your home, or occupy a previously unused level of a house. If you have a radon level of 4 pCi/L or more, take steps to remedy the problem as soon as possible.

January 2006 is National Radon Action Month. As a build-up to the month-long effort to promote radon testing and mitigation, the Alliance co-sponsored a December national leadership summit on radon in housing, in conjunction with the American Lung Association, the Children’s Environmental Health Network, and the National Safety Council. Attendees included representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state and local government, radon measurement and mitigation professionals, and public interest organizations. The conference aimed to reinvigorate awareness and advocacy work around radon testing and mitigation in U.S. housing.

Dr. William Field from the University of Iowa’s School of Public Health gave an overview on the state of the science, noting that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, and accounts for 21,000 deaths a year. The latest research studies from Europe and the US continue to confirm the direct connection between residential exposure to radon and lung cancer. EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, Bill Wehrum, expressed his agency’s commitment to reinvigorating its efforts to protect human health by reducing radon risks.

Summit attendees identified key elements of a national strategy to generate attention and action to reduce radon hazards in US homes, including rental and multifamily homes. They agreed to work together to fully develop and implement the strategy. The group decided to first address these near-term priorities: meeting with EPA to elevate the issue within the agency, working to integrate radon safety into green building standards, and pushing HUD to meet its legal obligations to prevent radon exposure in federally assisted housing.

At the beginning of this year, the Surgeon General issued a second health advisory on radon, urging everyone to “test your home for radon every two years, and retest any time you move, make structural changes to your home, or occupy a previously unused level of a house. If you have a radon level of 4 pCi/L or more, take steps to remedy the problem as soon as possible.” In June of this year, EPA announced a new strategy to prevent cancer deaths from radon.

For more information contact:

Ralph Scott

Community Projects Director

Alliance for Healthy Homes

227 Massachusetts Ave., NE, Suite 200

Washington, DC 20002

202-543-1147

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