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The National Radon Action Plan has been recently revised in an effort to improve radon risk reduction in homes, schools, and daycare facilities. Radon is a radioactive gas that is odorless and colorless. It forms naturally from the breakdown of radioactive elements that are found in various levels in rock and soil. This gas can move into the air in buildings and also into water supplies, and can cause a variety of ill effects for those who are exposed to it. Over time, radon exposure can cause lung cancer, along with various other respiratory system issues. While it is not possible to completely eradicate radon in our buildings, it is critical to maintain low levels that are considered to be safe.
The Critical Impact of Radon and Preventable Lung Cancer
According to Elizabeth Hoffmann, Co-founder and President of Cancer Survivors against Radon, more than 21,000 lives are lost annually to lung cancer that is caused by radon exposure. The National Radon Action Plan was developed through the collaborative efforts of more than a dozen national organizations, including the US Department of Health and Human Services, The American Lung Association, the Children’s Environmental Health Network, and others. Specifically, the goal of the Action Plan is to reduce the radon risk in 5 million homes and save 3,200 lives by the year 2020. The ultimate goal of the plan is to eliminate avoidable radon-induced lung cancer in the U.S. by incorporating radon testing, radon mitigation, and radon-resistant construction into homes, schools, daycare centers, and other buildings.
The technologies required to carry out testing and mitigation are simple and proven, but they must be incorporated as standard, regular practice. Only when high indoor radon levels are found and fixed so that people are no longer exposed to avoidable radon at home, work, and school will the Plan have achieved its vision. In 2010, nine federal agencies came together and developed the Federal Radon Action Plan, launching over 30 projects to promote radon action. As of 2014, this Action Plan has so far reached an estimated 1.6 million homes and buildings, reducing radon risk.
Revising the Federal Radon Action Plan
The framework for planning action was recently reframed with four key additions that will further increase radon detection and reduction. The Plan now includes approaches that embed radon risk reduction as standard practice; motivate people to pay for testing, mitigation and radon-resistant construction with financial encouragement and direct financial support; promote the use of certified radon services; and garner broad public attention for the radon issue, demonstrating the importance of radon risk reduction.
The EPA has a wealth of data on the relationship between the development of lung cancer and radon exposure; experts agree that while residential radon studies will improve what is known about radon, health authorities like the Surgeon General, the CDC, the American Lung Association and others all agree that public action is recommended when radon testing reveals levels above 4 pCi/L in buildings.
For more information on radon testing, and to have Neighbors conduct testing in your home, office, building, or work environment to measure radon levels, contact us! We offer radon testing and mitigation services throughout Ames, Iowa and all surrounding areas.