“We must pass legislation so that other people and their families do not have to go through the trauma of radon-induced lung cancer.”
– Barbara Nietge, A “Voice of Radon”
New Construction Codes
Approximately 10 million homes throughout the United States have indoor radon levels exceeding the EPA Action Level of 4.0 pCi/l. Even at today’s lower annual rates of new home building, we continue to build more new homes with elevated radon levels than the total number of homes (new and existing) than we fix each year. The only way we will get on top of the growing radon-induced lung cancer rate is to stop building homes with radon levels above the EPA Action Level. Easy, inexpensive control measures that can reduce indoor radon levels can be built in during new home construction.
Simple code changes are the first step in the battle to control radon in new homes. Minnesota has taken steps to require building in radon reducing features in all new homes built in their state. Knowing that these steps do not go far enough to assure reduced radon levels, the Minnesota Department of Health has created a voluntary Gold Standard program to encourage builders to install complete (with radon fan) systems which will assure positive control of radon levels.
School and/or Daycare Testing
As with homes, the only way to know if a school has elevated radon levels is to test for radon. Our children spend extended periods of time in school, so if a school has elevated radon, they are being exposed to a health hazard daily, possibly for years. For that reason, a small number of states have laws that relate to testing and, mitigating schools and/or daycare facilities. States that have these laws include: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Helpful Legislation Links
http://www.eli.org/sites/default/files/docs/2016_radon_database.pdf – The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) tracks all of the new (and existing) laws governing radon. A free downloadable copy of radon laws as of February 2016 is available on their website.
http://www.eli.org/sites/default/files/eli-pubs/d22_05.pdf – ELI issued in 2012 a report titled Radon in Homes: Strengthening State Policy to Reduce Risk and Save Lives, which is also downloadable.