IAQTC: Radon - A Health Risk

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers, causing thousands of cancer deaths each year. Radon is colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that enters buildings through cracks and holes in its foundation, and cannot be identified or predicted without testing. The EPA recommends every home and school be tested for radon. There are a variety of options for conducting radon testing. Additional details will be provided in the future via this webpage and the IAQTC newsletter and list-serve. We are also offering a webinar on Radon Testing and Mitigation on February 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm MST.

IAQ Podcast Series – NEW Radon podcast will be released next month, March 2013!

Radon - The Basics

National Radon Program Services

Radon webinar:
Click HERE for webinar.

Testing for Radon
  • Why test?
    Testing homes and schools for radon is the only way of determining the potential for indoor exposure to radon. By testing for radon in the home, residents can be evaluate whether the air they are breathing is healthy, or whether radon mitigation is required to ensure the safety of inhabitants.

  • How can I test my home or school? What options are available?
    There are many radon testing options and different types of testing kits that you can acquire. Radon testing equipment is generally subdivided into two categories: active and passive devices. Active devices, like continuous air monitors, require power to function. Passive devices, including electret ion chambers (commonly referred to as E-Perm), and charcoal canisters, do not require power to function.

  • Where can I obtain a home test kit?
    Test Kit Manufacturers [pdf]
    Radon Device Manufacturer List [pdf]

  • Is there a radon testing certification program available?
    Yes. There are two national certifying boards, the National Environmental Health Association and the National Radon Safety Board. Many different organizations offer preparation for radon professional certification exams, namely online and in-person training courses.

  • National Radon Safety Board, How to get certified

  • American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST), National Radon Proficiency Program

  • Technical Assistance from ITEP:
    If the information provided above does not answer all of your questions, or if you would like additional support with your radon testing efforts, ITEP staff are available to help. The ITEP IAQTC staff can assist you throughout the process, including education and outreach in your community. Below is a link to ITEP's assistance request form. Please fill out and submit the form if you require technical support for radon testing in your community.
    Request Assistance with Radon Testing

Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPP) for Radon Testing
A Quality Assurance Project Plan documents the planning, implementation, and assessment procedures for a particular project, as well as any specific quality assurance and quality control activities. It integrates all the technical and quality aspects of the project in order to provide a "blueprint" for obtaining the type and quality of environmental data and information needed for a specific decision or use.

State of Illinois, Emergency Management Agency – Radon Quality Assurance Program Guidance
www.state.il.us/iema/radon/pdf/radonqaguidance.pdf [pdf]

Kansas Department of Health and Environment – Kansas Radon, Quality Assurance Plan (QAP)
"All radon measurement technicians and laboratories certified in Kansas are required to develop, operate by, and maintain a Quality Assurance Plan (QAP). This plan MUST be submitted as part of the certification renewal application, and must include copies of any calibration certificates for instruments used for radon measurement. Attached below is a checklist which includes all components which should be part of a QAP, and an optional template which can be used to develop a QAP. Also attached below is the EPA Guidance on Quality Assurance."

National Radon Proficiency Program, Guidance on Quality Assurance (EPA 402-R-95-012)
www.nrsb.org/images/file/QualityAssurranceProgram.pdf [pdf]

Quality Assurance in Radon Testing: Practice Meets Theory. American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists
www.aarst.org/proceedings/1993/1993_24_Quality_Assurance_in_Radon_Testing--Practice_Meets_T.pdf [pdf]

Technical Assistance from ITEP:
ITEP provides training for Quality Assurance Project Planning development. To learn more, please contact us directly (information provided at bottom of webpage).

Funding Opportunities

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) FY2013
http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=2013-01fy13nofa.pdf [pdf]

State Indoor Radon Grant (SIRG) Program

More Information and Resources on Radon

Media Productions:

Native Voices Calling – Radon and Indoor Air Quality, January 12, 2012
"This month is radon awareness month. According to those in the field, radon - a colorless, odorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas found in homes - is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and the leading cause among non-smokers. Does your tribe have a radon testing program? What measures is your tribe taking to keep your air quality at a healthy level? What else are you breathing inside your home and workplace? Guests include Vivian Craig (Navajo) Environmental Specialist/Navajo Radon Program, Twa-le Abrahamson (Spokane /Colville/Coeur d'Alene/Navajo) Air Quality Coordinator/Spokane Tribe, and Mansel Nelson, Senior Program Coordinator/ Northern Arizona University's Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals."

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
"Many homes in the United States harbor an invisible guest—radon. Exposure to this colorless, odorless gas is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. In this podcast, we discuss the latest radon research and what you can do to protect your family."

General Information:

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – About Radon

US Environmental Protection Agency – Where you Live, Radon
"Find local information related to radon, including your state radon program, with contact information, EPA Regional contacts, the EPA Map of Radon Zones (including full size state maps), National Radon Action Month Events, and the Directory of Builders Using Radon-Resistant New Construction."

Protecting People and Families from Radon, A Federal Action Plan for Saving Lives

The EPA website has extensive information on radon, radon testing, and mitigation for high radon levels

Kansas State University, National Radon Program Services

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes radon information web page

Health Effects of Radon:

University of Minnesota Environmental & Occupational Health Department, Radon – The Harmful Effects of Radon

Center for Environmental Research and Technology, Inc.

American Lung Association – Radon

Healthy Homes – Weatherization, Building Codes, and Retrofits:

Healthy Indoor Environment Protocols for Home Energy Upgrades (EPA 402/K-11/003)
"Millions of American homes will be retrofitted in the coming years to improve their energy efficiency, make them more "green" or add features their owners want. Integrated healthy home and energy-efficiency retrofit activities can simultaneously lower utility costs and improve indoor air quality."

Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan – Radon

University of Illinois Extension, Take Action on Radon for Healthy Homes

Building Radon Out: A step-by-step guide on how to build radon-resistant homes (EPA/402-K-01-002)

US Environmental Protection Agency, Radon Resistant New Construction (RRNC), Building Codes – A Primer
According to the USEPA, the three most common residential building codes addressing radon, are:
  • Appendix F of the 2006 International Residential Code (IRC)

  • The American Society of Testing and Materials' (ASTM) set of standard practices - ASTM E1465-08a

  • Section 49.2.5 of the National Fire Protection Association's "NFPA 5000: Building Construction and Safety Codes" document

US Environmental Protection Agency, Listing of States and Jurisdictions with RRNC Codes

Environmental Law Institute, Indoor Environments " Green Buildings Policy Resource Center. Radon Control in New Home Construction: Developments in State Policy

Building Energy Codes and Indoor Air Quality, Prepared by the Cadmus Group for the US Environmental Protection Agency

Center for Environmental Research and Technology, Inc. – Video: Understanding Radon Mitigation

Radon Testing:

US Environmental Protection Agency – Where can I get a radon test kit?

Education and Outreach Materials

US Environmental Protection Agency, A Citizen’s Guide to Radon (EPA 402/K-12/002)

For more information please contact:
Mansel Nelson, Sr. Program Coordinator
Tel: 928/523-1275
Email: Mansel.Nelson@nau.edu

Last updated: May 20, 2013


© 2007 Arizona Board of Regents.
Northern Arizona University, South San Francisco Street, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011