Radon Prevention in Newly Constructed Homes Would Save Lives

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The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists expects that a code ready radon standard for new homes will be published in 2013 and this will provide a basis for a proposal to change the International Residential Code to include radon control means in new construction.

"25 years after the US Congress signed the Indoor Radon Abatement Act that homebuilders continue to construct new homes with elevated radon concentrations and then sell those homes to unsuspecting homebuyers”

The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) recommends that all new homes in high radon risk areas be built with a radon removal system rough-in and that these homes be tested for radon prior to occupancy.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soils found in many parts of the United States. There is no reliable way to test the soil before construction so preparing the building for an Active Soil Depressurization (ASD) System during construction saves time, money and lives. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon-related lung cancer kills 21,000 Americans every year.

“It is deeply troubling that nearly 25 years after the US Congress signed the Indoor Radon Abatement Act that homebuilders continue to construct new homes with elevated radon concentrations and then sell those homes to unsuspecting homebuyers,” said David Kapturowski, Vice President of AARST. Mr Kapturowski is the chairman of an AARST standards committee which recently completed a standard, “Reducing Radon in New Construction of 1 & 2 Family Homes and Townhouses.”

This “code-ready” standard is expected to be published in 2013 and will be the basis for a proposal to change the International Residential Code to include radon control means in new construction.

Because radon is becoming a serious potential liability issue for homebuilders, some builders are not waiting for a change in the building code before addressing the problem of radon in their homes.

Home Builder Recognized for Radon Leadership

AARST recently recognized Richmond American Homes for their leadership in saving lives by incorporating active radon mitigation systems in all new homes they build in high radon risk areas, including parts of Utah.

Andrew E. Harris, Senior Vice President of Richmond American Homes Corporation
MDC Holdings, Inc. accepted the award at the Healthy Homes Conference in Denver, CO on behalf of Richmond American Homes in June 2011. The award specifically recognizes the company’s efforts to promote radon awareness and radon risk reduction by becoming the first production home builder in the United States to include an Active Radon System in all homes built in Radon Zone 1.

While there is no national law which requires testing for this radioactive gas, individual states such as Illinois, Minnesota and Maine have passed state laws that often require radon risk notifications to homebuyers, new home construction codes and testing for schools and day care centers. State laws are also existing to ensure contractors are qualified to test and fix a home or building.

For more information contact
Peter Hendrick, AARST Executive Director
603-756-0250
director(at)aarst.org

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Peter Hendrick

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