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World Health Organization (WHO) Sets Radon Action Level of 2.7 - Less Lung Cancer Risk Than EPA 4.0
The World Health Organization has released their Handbook on Indoor Radon which strongly validates the worldwide threat of exposure to radon gas. WHO now suggests that homeowners take action when radon levels exceed 2.7 pCi/l.
By: Environmental News Committee
The World Health Organization has released their Handbook on Indoor Radon which strongly validates the worldwide threat of exposure to radon gas. According to handbook, WHO has been studying the effects of radon exposure since 1979. Although radon was classified as a human carcinogen in 1988, it took over 20-years of sound research and real-life studies from all over the world to confirm the true magnitude of the risk radon poses. Based on the results of these studies, WHO now suggests that homeowners take action when radon levels exceed 2.7 pCi/l. This is a much more conservative figure than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA's) action level of 4.0 pCi/l, which has been the U.S. standard for over 20-years.
More than 100 scientists from 30 countries have participated in the World Health Organization International Radon Project since 2005 which has lead to the publishing of the WHO Handbook on Indoor Radon this year. The book is a useful resource for concerned homeowners or anyone who wants to learn more about the toxic carcinogen known as radon. It outlines the years of research and the very conclusive findings that have triggered a push for stricter legislation and construction practices that will reduce the risk of indoor radon exposure to the general population. You can download a copy of the WHO Radon Handbook here: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/
The United Nations also broke new ground in the international fight on radon-induced lung cancer earlier this year when they released their acknowledgement of the radon problems throughout the world. They analyzed both residential studies as well as extrapolated data from underground miner studies to confirm the previously understated radon risk. Their findings are documented in The U.N. Assessment for Radon in Homes and Workplaces: http://www.unscear.org/
“By encouraging people to take action when radon levels exceed 2.7 rather than the previous limit of 4.0, we should see a dramatic increase in the number of homes being tested and mitigated as well as improved enforcement of radon resistant new construction requirements,”
Most major health organizations (including The American Medical Association, National Cancer Institute, and American Lung Association)
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Radon is naturally occurring, odorless, and colorless gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Because radon is a gas, it can enter buildings through openings or cracks in the foundation. The radon gas itself decays into radioactive solids, called radon daughters. The radon daughters attach to dust particles in the air, and can be inhaled. The inhalation of radon daughters has been linked to lung cancer.
Radon has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States (second only to smoking.) The Environmental Protection Agency reports that radon causes between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the United States.