2020 Health Care Professionals Guide [Update] 2020 VOL 2 [Update]: September | Page 11

radon reference concentration of 2.7 picocuries of radon per liter of air ( pCi / L ) ( 100 becquerels per cubic meter [ Bq / m 3 ]). 12 The probability of 19 of 22 case-control studies reporting an increased lung cancer risk at 2.7 pCi / L is less than 1 in 1000 . In addition to the individual study findings , risk estimates were obtained from a collaborative pooling of the case-control studies in North America , Europe and China . 13 – 17 The investigators of the pooled analyses reported an increased lung cancer risk at 2.7 pCi / L ( 100 Bq / m3 ) of 11 percent ( 95 % confidence interval [ CI ]: 0 – 28 %) in North America , 16 percent ( 95 % CI : 5 – 31 %) per 100 Bq / m3 in Europe , and 33 percent ( 95 % CI : 1 – 36 %) in China . These risk estimates are in close agreement with the risk estimates at 2.7 pCi / L of 12 percent ( 2 – 25 %) that were projected from cohort studies of radonexposed miners . 7 Note that these increased lung cancer risk estimates are from protracted exposure to radon at concentrations below EPA ’ s action level of 4 pCi / L .

Radon Testing

The concentration of radon in the air is measured in “ picocuries per liter of air ,” or “ pCi / L .” Radon gas can be measured easily through inexpensive do-it-yourself testing or by hiring a trained radon professional to perform the testing . There are two different types of radon tests – a short-term test ( two days to 90 days ) and a long-term test ( 90 days to one year ). Since radon concentrations in a home tend to vary from day-to-day as well as season-to-season , a short-term test generally provides a less accurate measurement of the year-round average radon concentration . However , if results are needed quickly , such as in a real estate transaction , a short-term radon test followed by a second short-term test can be used to decide whether the radon in a home needs reduced ( mitigated ). Radon test kits can be purchased at local health departments , from state cancer consortia , online , or in hardware stores and other retail outlets . Test kits also can also be ordered by calling 1 – 800 – SOS – RADON ( 1 – 800 – 767 – 7236 ). Testing for radon in houses is discussed in EPA ’ s A Citizen ’ s Guide to Radon and other EPA publications ( see links at www . epa . gov / radon ). Because of the serious health risk posed by radon , EPA recommends that all homes be tested for radon . Homeowners should take steps to lower radon levels indoors when levels are at or above EPA ’ s radon action level of 4 pCi / L . However , because any radon exposure carries some risk , significant lung cancer risk reduction can be achieved by reducing radon concentrations to less than 2 pCi / L .

Radon Reduction

The primary method to reduce radon in a home is installing a vent pipe system and fan that pulls radon from beneath the building and vents it to the outside . This system , known as an active soil depressurization system , does not require major changes to a home . Radon reduction systems can be installed in homes with or without basements , as well as in homes with crawlspaces . Methods to reduce radon in homes are discussed in EPA ’ s Consumer ’ s Guide to Radon Reduction - see links at www . epa . gov / radon .
The cost of reducing radon in a home depends on how the home was built and the extent of the radon problem . The vast majority of homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs . In addition , radon reduction costs often are an eligible expense covered under a health flexible spending arrangement ( FSA ). The majority of states maintain names of certified radon contractors within their state . However , if contractors are not licensed by the particular state , your patients can contact private radon proficiency programs for lists of certified radon professionals in their area . For more information on private radon proficiency programs - see links at www . epa . gov / radon . Selecting someone to fix a radon problem is much like choosing a contractor for other home repairs — your patients may want to get references and more than one estimate . In addition , new homes can be built to resist radon entry . The additional cost at the time of construction is minimal . When installed properly , the basic radon-resistant new construction techniques greatly reduce the lung cancer risk that may occur from radon in the home .
Reducing the Risk from Radon | A Guide for Health Care Providers