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Craig M. Audet Walden University

The Detrimental Health Effects of Radon and How to Avoid Them: Information for the Homeowners, Schools, and Real Estate Professionals. Craig M. Audet Walden University. This educational slide presentation on radon it arranged in four modules:.

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Craig M. Audet Walden University

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  1. The Detrimental Health Effects of Radon and How to Avoid Them: Information for the Homeowners, Schools, and Real Estate Professionals Craig M. Audet Walden University

  2. This educational slide presentation on radon it arranged in four modules: • Module 1 contains general information on radon and its adverse health effects • Module 2 contains information for homeowners • Module 3 contains information for school systems • Module 4 contains information for Real Estate professionals The Health Effects of Radon

  3. Module 1 – Radon and its Adverse Health Effects • What is radon? • Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas • Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water • Radon can be found all over the U.S. • Radon can get into any type of building - homes, offices, and schools - and result in a high indoor radon level Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-1) The Health Effects of Radon

  4. Module 1 – Radon and its Adverse Health Effects • Where is radon found? • Radon is found in soil and in water • Radon in water is an inhalation and ingestion risk • Most risk is from water usage • Not usually a problem in surface water • Problems are more likely from ground water, e.g., a private well or a public water supply system that uses ground water • Radon from the soil is usually a much larger risk Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-1) The Health Effects of Radon

  5. Module 1 – Radon and its Adverse Health Effects How does Radon Get into Buildings? • Radon gets in through: • Cracks in solid floors • Construction joints • Cracks in walls • Gaps in suspended floors • Gaps around service pipes • Cavities inside walls • The water supply The Health Effects of Radon • Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-1)

  6. Module 1 – Radon and its Adverse Health Effects • Scope of the Problem • Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated radon levels. • Radon problems can also be found in: • Schools • Businesses • Workplaces • Daycare and childcare facilities • Other buildings Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-1) The Health Effects of Radon

  7. Module 1 – Radon and its Adverse Health Effects • EPA’s Map of Radon Zones • Indoor Radon Abatement Act of 1988 • Areas of the U.S. with the potential for elevated indoor radon levels • Assigns each of the 3,141 counties in the U.S. to one of three zones based on radon potential • Can to assist national, state, and local organizations in targeting their resources and to implement radon-resistant building codes Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-2) The Health Effects of Radon

  8. Module 1 – Radon and its Adverse Health Effects • EPA’s Map of Radon Zones • The Map uses five factors of radon potential • indoor radon measurements • geology • aerial radioactivity • soil permeability • foundation type. • Zone 1 counties (red zones) • have the highest radon potential • greater than 4 pCi/L • Zone 2 counties (orange zones) • have moderate radon potential • between 2 and 4 pCi/L • Zone 3counties (yellow zones) • have a low radon potential • less than 2 pCi/L. Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-2) The Health Effects of Radon

  9. Module 1 – Radon and its Adverse Health Effects • EPA’s Map of Radon Zones • Important points in regard to The Map • All homes should test for radon, regardless of geographic location or zone designation • There are many thousands of individual homes with elevated radon levels in Zone 2 and 3 • EPA recommends that this map be supplemented with any available local data in order to further understand and predict the radon potential of a specific area. Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-2) The Health Effects of Radon

  10. Module 1 – Radon and its Adverse Health Effects The Health Effects of Radon

  11. Module 1 – Radon and its Adverse Health Effects • Radon Health Effects • Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer • Responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year • The U.S. Surgeon General issued a national health advisory for radon on January 13, 2005 • Test homes for levels • Remedy problems as soon as possible Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-3) The Health Effects of Radon

  12. Module 1 – Radon and its Adverse Health Effects • Radon Health Effects • The risk of lung cancer is higher among smokers who are exposed to high radon levels. • Risk for smokers exposed to 10 pCi/L over a lifetime getting lung cancer is 150 per 1000 people • Risk for a non-smokers is 18 per 1000 people • The chances of getting lung cancer depend on: • the level of exposure • the total time of exposure • smoking history Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-3) The Health Effects of Radon

  13. Module 1 – Radon and its Adverse Health Effects • Radon Health Effects • Radon gas decays into radioactive particles • Particles get trapped in the lungs • As they break down they release small amounts of energy • This energy can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course time • The amount of time between exposure and the onset of lung cancer can be many years • Not all those exposed develop lung cancer Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-3) The Health Effects of Radon

  14. Module 2 – Information for Homeowners • Radon Testing • The only way to know if you have a radon problem • Water testing • Public water supply: check with water provider or test • Private well: test • If a problem exists, there are two ways to remediate • Point of entry treatment • Point of use treatment Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-1) The Health Effects of Radon

  15. Module 2 – Information for Homeowners • Radon Testing • Air testing • Recommended by EPA & Surgeon General • All homes below the 3rd floor • Average indoor level: 1.3 pCi/L • Two ways to test • Short-term testing • Test remains for 2 to 90 days • May not provide result equitable to levels for the entire year • Long-term testing • Test remains for more than 90 days • Reading more equivalent to year-round level • If levels are above EPA action level of 4pCi/L , fixing the home is warranted Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-1) The Health Effects of Radon

  16. Module 2 – Information for Homeowners • Radon Testing • Air testing • Reducing radon in the home • Soil suction radon reduction system • Pulls radon from under house and vents it outside • No major changes to home • Effective and cost efficient • New homes can be built with this system The Health Effects of Radon • Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-1)

  17. Module 2 – Information for Homeowners • Radon Testing • January is National Radon Action Month • Four things homeowners can do: • Test your home • Attend a National Radon Action Month event • Spread the word • Buy a radon-resistant home Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-4) The Health Effects of Radon

  18. Module 2 – Information for Homeowners • Additional Resources: • EPA's Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or at www.epa.gov/safewater/radon.html • EPA Radon Publications at http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/index.html#index1 • Your State Radon Contact at http://www.epa.gov/radon/whereyoulive.html • Radon Information Resources at http://www.epa.gov/radon/rnxlines.html The Health Effects of Radon

  19. Module 3 – Information for Schools • EPA and Schools • EPA recommends testing all schools for radon • 1988 study of schools in Fairfax County, Virginia • Findings used to develop Radon Measurement in Schools - An Interim Report. • Used as a guide for measuring radon in schools Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 1993) The Health Effects of Radon

  20. Module 3 – Information for Schools • EPA and Schools • 1989-1990 School Protocol Development Study • Further examines how to conduct radon measurements in schools. • Study suggested that elevated radon levels (levels ≥ 4pCi/L) exist in some schools in every state. • Most elevated measurements were greater than 4 pCi/L • Several schools found with levels well over 20 pCi/L • Some found with concentrations over 100 pCi/L Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 1993) The Health Effects of Radon

  21. Module 3 – Information for Schools • EPA and Schools • EPA also conducted a National School Radon Survey • Provides a statistically valid representation of the levels of radon in schools at the national level • Results show widespread radon contamination • EPA estimates that 19.3% of U.S. have at least one room with short-term radon levels above 4 pCi/L • In total, over 70,000 schoolrooms have short-term radon levels above 4 pCi/L Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 1993) The Health Effects of Radon

  22. Module 3 – Information for Schools • EPA and Schools • The EPA recommends same testing method of short and long-term testing. • If necessary, proceed with diagnostics and mitigation plans • Schools should conduct initial measurements in all frequently occupied rooms in contact with the ground • Usually classrooms, offices, laboratories, cafeterias, libraries, and gymnasiums. • Future retesting should be done • After significant changes to the building structure or the HVAC system. Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 1993) The Health Effects of Radon

  23. Module 3 – Information for Schools • Summary of EPA Recommendations • Initial short-term tests in all frequently occupied, ground contact rooms • Initial testing during the coldest months when the heating system is operating and windows and doors are closed • Short-term test of 2 to-5 days should be conducted on weekdays with the HVAC system operating normally • If the short-term test shows level in a room is 4 pCi/L or greater, conduct either a second short-term or a long-term test to confirm • EPA does not recommend that schools use a single short-term test result for determining action • Duplicates and blanks should accompany all testing programs • Trained school personnel or a RMP-listed measurement service should supervise and/or conduct the testing program. Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 1993) The Health Effects of Radon

  24. Module 3 – Information for Schools • Additional Resources: • EPA Radon Publications at http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/index.html#index1 • Radon Links - Kids, Students and Teachers at http://www.epa.gov/radon/justforkids.html • State Indoor Radon Grant (SIRG) Program at http://www.epa.gov/radon/sirgprogram.html The Health Effects of Radon

  25. Module 4 – Information for Real Estate Professionals • Federal Housing Commissioner • 2004 : issued radon gas notice • Required a release agreement in all sales contracts for HUD properties • Notifies purchasers of potential health problems of radon • Use of the agreement expired on May 31, 2005.  • Agreement was used in the purchase of approximately 78,000 properties Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-5) The Health Effects of Radon

  26. Module 4 – Information for Real Estate Professionals • Federal Housing Commissioner • 2006: informed FHA mortgagees about revisions to its home inspection form • Reaches millions of homebuyers • Section on radon included • EPA and U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendation • EPA's 1-800-SOS-Radon hotline. • Mortgagees required to provide the form to prospective homebuyers • Form is mandatory for all FHA-insured mortgages Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-5) The Health Effects of Radon

  27. Module 4 – Information for Real Estate Professionals • Section 203(k) Mortgage Financing Program • HUD’s primary tool for improving single family homes • Program allows home buyers to finance the improvement of a home • Reducing radon levels in a home is eligible • The total cost must be at least $5,000 • “An important tool for expanding home ownership, revitalizing homes, neighborhoods and communities, and for making homes healthier and safer for those who occupy them.” Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-5) The Health Effects of Radon

  28. Module 4 – Information for Real Estate Professionals • The Radon Mitigation System Inspection Checklist • Home inspectors offer radon mitigation system inspections to home inspection clients • Created by the American Society of Home Inspectors in cooperation with the EPA's Indoor Environments Division • Checklistpromotes radon awareness, testing, and mitigation • Inspection results indicate whether the home has a mitigation system • Encourages the verification that indoor radon levels are below 4 pCi/L • Checklist constructed using several sources • EPA technical radon mitigation and radon-resistant documents, • Radon inspection checklists used by state radon programs Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-5) The Health Effects of Radon

  29. Module 4 – Information for Real Estate Professionals • EPA Video • Breathing Easy: What Home Buyers and Sellers Should Know About Radon • Primary audiences are home buyers, sellers, real estate agents, & brokers • Provides a visual educational tool • How to best include radon in residential real estate transactions • Covers the basics: • Radon science • Lung cancer risk • Home inspection • Building a new home radon-resistant • Testing & fixing a home • Disclosure • State radon offices • Hotline & web resources • Key radon numbers Source: (Environmental Protection Agency, 2009-5) The Health Effects of Radon

  30. References • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2009-1). A Citizen's Guide to Radon. Retrieved July 17, 2009, from US EPA: http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2009-2). EPA Map of Radon Zones. Retrieved July 17, 2009, from U.S. EPA: http://www.epa.gov/radon/zonemap.html • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2009-3). Radon Health Risks. Retrieved July 17, 2009, from U.S. EPA: http://www.epa.gov/radon/healthrisks.html • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (1993). Radon Measurement in Schools, Revised Edition. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2009-4). Radon National Action Month. Retrieved July 17, 2009, from U.S. EPA: http://www.epa.gov/radon/nram/public.html • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2009-5). Real Estate and Radon. Retrieved July 17, 2009, from U.S. EPA: http://www.epa.gov/radon/realestate.html The Health Effects of Radon

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