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US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. Radon Programs. Protecting Human Health and the Environment. EPA Radon Programs. In 1984 Stanley Watras, while working on the construction of the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant in Pennsylvania set off radiation monitoring alarms at the plant.

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Radon programs

US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

Radon Programs

Protecting Human Health and the Environment


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

In 1984 Stanley Watras, while working on the construction of the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant in Pennsylvania set off radiation monitoring alarms at the plant.

Since there were no radioactive materials on-site yet, the cause went undetermined until Mr. Watras walked through the monitor in the morning upon arrival, setting off the alarms.


Radon programs

In response to growing evidence of a public health problem:

  • 1985 – EPA establishes a radon program to address the public health risk.

  • 1986 – Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Congress authorized EPA to coordinate federal, state and private efforts to assess and reduce radon health risks.

  • 1988 –Indoor Radon Abatement Act (IRAA) authorizes EPA to provide technical assistance/information to the public and award grants to states to lower indoor radon levels.

EPA Radon Programs


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act:

  • 1986 – 1998 :EPA operates the Radon Proficiency Program.

  • RPP establishes proficiency standards for measurement and mitigation contractors. Participates must:

    • Complete prescribed training

    • Pass a standardized test and follow EPA standards.

  • 1998 – EPA privatizes RPP. Operation continued by National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and the National Radiation Safety Board


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

  • 1990– Under the authority of IRAA, EPA initiates the State Indoor Radon Grants (SIRG) program providing money to States to develop local radon programs. Most states have used the funds to assess problems and identify high risk areas; develop radon strategies, distribute information to the public; establish state certification programs and initiate partnerships with local governments in high risk radon areas.

Indoor Radon Abatement Act:


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

SIRG funds may used to:

  • Educate the public, real estate professionals, home inspectors, home builders, and building code officials on the risks of radon and how to mitigate it.

  • Promote radon-resistant building methods to home builders.

  • Encourage the adoption of radon-resistant building codes.

  • Promote radon testing and mitigation as a part of all real estate transactions.

  • Encourage the public to test their homes for radon.


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs


Radon programs

Focusing resources on the greatest risk

geographic areas with the highest-risk populations.

Promoting Radon Resistant New Construction

Working with state & local governments on the adoption of Appendix F of the International Building Code.

Promoting testing and mitigation during real estate transfer.

Response to initial efforts to inform the public of the radon risk has been slow. As a result, EPA has refined the message and developed new strategies to achieve specific goals, to include:

EPA Radon Programs

Re-Focusing the Message:


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

Estimated State Radon-Related Lung Cancer Deaths

  • 21,385 - Total of EPA State Risk Estimates, Sep 2007, Draft

  • 21,100 - National EPA Risk Assessment, 2003

  • Factors/Data needed for the calculations:

    • Estimated average radon levels for Zone 1, 2 & 3

    • Estimated average radon level for each State

    • State Lung Cancer Death Rates (U.S. - Radon 13.5%)

    • Population by Zone and State


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

Estimated State Radon-Related Lung Cancer Deaths

  • The estimates are intended to put state specific risks in context to that of the national risk estimate (21,100 annual radon lung cancer deaths). States are encouraged to consider the use of these estimates strategically in their SIRG program related risk reducing activities.

  • The EPA has established three criteria under the SIRG program for making State grant award decisions: (1) degree of risk; (2) funding/match; and (3) measurable results/performance.


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

Annual Radon-Related Lung Cancer Deaths

It takes an estimated 1,542 mitigations

or

5,292 homes built radon resistant to

save a life


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

Annual Radon-Related Lung Cancer Deaths

It takes an estimated 1,542 mitigations

or

5,292 homes built radon resistant to

save a life


Radon programs

EPA has designated January of every year as Nation Radon Action Month

During the month communities sponsor activities and host events to increase awareness and bring the message to the public through a wide variety of media outlets.

New PSAs using the Surgeon General’s Warning on the radon risk.

EPA Radon Programs

Re-Focusing the Message:

Actions to increase public awareness and community involvement


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

Re-Focusing the Message:

  • Radon Webinar is an interactive web-based means to facilitate discussion among State Programs for increased action.

  • RadonSIRG Listserve provides EPA & States a opportunity to share ideas, answer questions and discuss strategies.

  • A stakeholders Consensus Building Dialogue was held in an attempt to negotiate agreements for improved nationwide results.

Actions to increase public awareness and community involvement


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

Re-Focusing the Message:

  • EPA Region 7 held its First Annual Radon Stakeholders’ Meeting to build new or strengthen existing partnerships among interested groups.

  • The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) in cooperation with the EPA published two consensus-based standards; ASTM E-2121, “Standard Practice for Installing Radon Mitigation Systems in Existing Low-rise Residential Buildings”; and ASTM E-1465, “Standards for Radon-Resistant New Construction”.

Actions to increase public awareness and community involvement


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

Re-Focusing the Message:

  • Improved SIRG accountability – emphasizing activities achieving the greatest radon risk reduction.

  • Radon Moisture Study – to determine whether Active Soil Depressurization (ASD) techniques reduce moisture entry.

  • EPA in partnership with the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD) has developed the “Building Technical Capacity Project” to build technical capabilities at the state and local levels of government.

Actions to increase public awareness and community involvement


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

  • States have regulations requiring state specific measurement and mitigation standards and/or standards for licensing of individuals who measure & mitigate radon in buildings.

  • States have laws requiring the disclosure environmental hazards, including radon in conjunction with real estate transactions.

  • States have some type of requirement for the testing of radon; mitigating elevated levels of radon and/or for the use of Radon-Resistant building techniques in schools, childcare centers and other public buildings.

  • States have adopted RRNC Building Codes.

    This does not include local governments.

State Radon Legislation - By the Numbers:

19

34

13

4


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

Resources:

  • US Environmental Protection Agency www.epa.gov/radon

  • Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRPCD).  www.crcpd.org/Radon.asp

  • Environmental Law Institute www2.eli.org/index.cfm

  • Nation Conference of State Legislatures www.ncsl.org/index.htm

  • National Environmental Health Association www.radongas.org

  • National Radon Safety Board www.nrsb.org


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

EPA Radon Publications


Radon programs

EPA Radon Programs

EPA Radon Publications


Radon programs

ZONE 1 (>4pCi/L)

ZONE 2 (2-4pCi/L)

ZONE 3 (<2pCi/L)

EPA Radon Programs

EPA's Map of Radon Zones

THANKS!


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