The National Radon Action Plan, also known as NRAP, was created in 2014 and launched in 2015. It is led by The American Lung Association with collaborative efforts from the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, American Society of Home Inspectors, Cancer Survivors Against Radon, Children’s Environmental Health Network, Citizens for Radioactive Radon Reduction, Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Environmental Law Institute, National Centre for Healthy Housing, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The goals of NRAP are to continue efforts set forth by FRAP to eliminate radon induced cancer that can be prevented by expanding cancer testing, mitigating high levels of radon exposure, and developing radon resistant construction. NRAP also aims to reduce radon risk in 15 million homes, and save 22000 lives by 2020.To complete these goals, representatives from each organization have established the following action plans: embed radon risk reduction as a standard practice across housing sectors, provide incentives and support to mitigate radon, promote the use of certified radon services and build the industry, and increase public attention to radon risk and the importance of reduction. The NRAP is currently in action, implementing programs, identifying approaches, and collaborating across organizations to achieve these goals.
Death toll attributed to radon
In discussing these figures, it should be kept in mind that both the radon distribution in dwelling and its effect at low exposures are not precisely known, and the radon health effect has to be computed (deaths caused by radon domestic exposure cannot be observed as such). These estimations are strongly dependent on the model retained.
According to these models, radon exposure is thought to be the second major cause of lung cancer after smoking.Iowa has the highest average radon concentration in the United States; studies performed there have demonstrated a 50% increased lung cancer risk with prolonged radon exposure above the EPA’s action level of 3 pCi/L.
Based on studies carried out by the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, radon would thus be the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and accounts for to 22,000 cancer deaths per year in the US alone. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. The general population is exposed to small amounts of polonium as a radon daughter in indoor air; the isotopes 214Po and 218Po are thought to cause the majority of the estimated 18,000–22,000 lung cancer deaths in the US every year that have been attributed to indoor radon.The Surgeon General of the United States has reported that over 20,000 Americans die each year of radon-related lung cancer.
In the United Kingdom, residential radon would be, after cigarette smoking, the second most frequent cause of lung cancer deaths: according to models, 63.9% of deaths are attributed to smoking only, 30.6% to radon only, and 5.5% to a combination of radon and smoking.
The World Health Organization has recommended a radon reference concentration of 100 Bq/m3 (2.7 pCi/L). The European Union recommends that action should be taken starting from concentrations of 90 Bq/m3 (2.2pCi/L) for older dwellings and 100 Bq/m3 (2.7 pCi/L) for newer ones.After publication of the North American and European Pooling Studies, Health Canada proposed a new guideline that lowers their action level from 300 to 100 Bq/m3 (22 to 2.7 pCi/L).The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strongly recommends action for any dwelling with a concentration higher than 100 Bq/m3 (2.7 pCi/L), and encourages action starting at 74 Bq/m3 (2 pCi/L).
EPA recommends that all homes should be treated for radon. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends homes be fixed if an occupant’s long-term exposure will average 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) that is 148 Bq/m3.]EPA estimates that one in 8 homes in the United States has radon levels above the recommended guideline of 4 pCi/L.EPA radon risk level tables including comparisons to other risks encountered in life are available in their citizen’s guide.The EPA estimates that nationally, 18% to 21% of all dwellings are above their maximum “safe levels” (four picocuries per liter—the equivalent to roughly 200 chest x-rays). The United States Surgeon General and the EPA both recommend that all homes be treated for radon.
The limits retained do not correspond to a known threshold in the biological effect, but are determined by a cost-efficiency analysis. EPA believes that a 100 Bq/m3 level (2.7 pCi/L) is achievable in the majority of homes , the average cost per life saved by using this action level is about $700,000.