Monday, December 12, 2011

Stakeholders gather to discuss reducing lung cancer from Radon in American homes

by Sarah Jawaid, National Housing Conference

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency and various advocacy groups including the National Housing Conference participated in a meeting to discuss reducing lung cancer from Radon exposure in American homes. Radon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year and is the second largest cause of lung cancer in the United States.

In June 2011, the first-ever U.S. Federal Action Plan, Protecting People and Families from Radon was released by the Environmental Protection Agency. The plan “aims to reduce loss of life due to elevated radon in houses, apartments, child care facilities, schools and offices by mitigating 10 million U.S. homes with elevated radon. The plan represents the commitments of 9 federal agencies to do work already within their authority that can have a measurable impact on healthy.” The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development committed to:
  • Demonstrate the importance of radon risk reduction
    • HUD will incorporate radon testing and mitigation into as many agency programs as possible to include public and other assisted housing. 
    • HUD will prepare a plan within the next 18 months to collect radon test results as part of its ongoing inspection protocol of public and assisted housing as the first step in conducting a baseline study of its housing stock. 
    • Department of Energy and HUD will promote radon awareness through their weatherization and healthy homes outreach. 
  • Address finance and incentive issues to drive testing and mitigation 
    • HUD’s Power Saver Loan Program will make radon mitigation an explicitly eligible/allowable expense within the 25% non-energy related set-aside. 
  • Build demand for services from the professional, nationwide industry 
    • HUD’s Healthy Homes Production Program grantees will check for sources of radiation, such as from radon, as required by HUD’s Healthy Homes Rating Tool. Mitigation is required for high radon levels.
To learn more, visit the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists or the American Lung Association websites.

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