The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) has launched the Radon Report Card, a tool for viewing, by state, the latest available data on radon-induced lung cancer risk and current state policies that help reduce risk. The Radon Report Card will assist consumers, policymakers, public health advocates, soil gas professionals, radon programs, researchers, and other health and housing stakeholders in accomplishing expanded and improved efforts to stop radon in the nation’s homes, schools, and other buildings. The Report Card will be updated annually.
The Radon Report Card delivers an estimate of the radon-induced lung cancer cases for each state, along with total lung cancer incidence and mortality, as well as the rate of lung cancer cases per 100,000 persons. Potential radon exposure locations are presented through the number of existing homes and additional homes built annually and the number of public schools.
The percentages of radon tests above EPA’s action level of four picocuries (pCi/L), obtained through the Environmental Public Health Tracking Data Explorer, illustrate the extent of radon’s burden in each state’s buildings. Nationally, 36% of the radon test results in the Data Explorer are above the action level.
To enable user verification of risk data and consistency in measurement across states, the Radon Report Card relies on national data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Census Bureau, and National Center for Educational Statistics.
The Radon Report Card also indicates which public policies to reduce radon risk are in effect in each state. To protect families from ineffective and unprotective work, some states require regulation of radon professionals (which includes prohibition of radon work by untrained and uncredentialed personnel) and adherence to the current radon standards. Only 20 states require certification or licensing; half of these states rely on the current standards exclusively.
Other protective statewide policies presented in the Radon Report Card notify prospective homebuyers through a warning statement including encouragement of testing before purchasing (nine states), require radon systems in new homes (11 states) and schools (nine states); and mandate testing of existing school buildings (eight states).
Although much progress has been made, there remains room for policy improvement in every state. AARST chapters across the US are working with legislators, radon programs, public health advocates, and others to advance radon risk reduction in their states.
The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists is a nonprofit, professional organization of members who are dedicated to the highest standard of excellence and the ethical performance of radon measurement, mitigation and transfer of information for the benefit of members, consumers and the public at large.