IAQ.net Resources

EPA Building Air Quality Guide-1991

Issue link: https://hi.iaq.net/i/630729

Contents of this Issue


Page 161 of 227

Radon 151 Radon is a radioactive gas produced by the decay of radium. It occurs naturally in almost all soil and rock. Radon migrates through the soil and groundwater and can enter buildings through cracks or other openings in their foundations. Radon's decay products can cause lung cancer, and radon is second only to smoking as a cause of lung cancer in America. Based on early data, the EPA concen- trated its radon reduction efforts on one- and two- family homes. Citing results from a radon survey conducted jointly with 25 States, the EPA and the Surgeon General's office issued a National Health Advisory that called for testing most homes for the presence of radon. Ex- tensive research and case studies in the field have demonstrated practical remed- iation methods that typically reduce the indoor radon concentrations below 4 pCi/L, the current EPA action level for all occu- pied buildings. Now that EPA technical guidance is being successfully used to reduce human health risk in homes, the EPA is emphasiz- ing the development of radon measure- ment, mitigation, and prevention tech- niques for schools and large buildings. Preliminary data from a nationwide survey of Federal buildings indicates that radon will probably not be as widespread a prob- lem in large buildings as it is in homes. One of the major factors for this difference is that multi-story buildings have propor- tionally less space in direct contact with the earth when compared to homes. Some of the control technologies utilized for homes are being studied for their ap- propriateness to other building types, in- cluding schools and large buildings. In addition, new methods and technologies are being developed to ensure a practical and cost-effective reduction of radon in these buildings. As a result, published docu- ments on guidance and protocols for mea- surement and remediation of radon in large buildings are not currently available. This publication provides an overview of radon issues, and should be used only as background information. For more infor- mation, refer to other sources of informa- tion that are specific to radon in indoor air. BUILDING MEASUREMENT, DIAGNOSIS, AND REMEDIATION Protocols specific to the measurement of radon and radon progeny in large buildings are tentatively scheduled to be published by EPA in early 1992. These large building measurement protocols can assist skilled building owner or facility personnel in making initial screening tests for the presence of radon. A new protocol specific to large buildings is necessary due to the major differences in building dynamics, HVAC systems, and occupancy patterns between large buildings and homes, and how these impact radon. As part of its effort to develop wide- spread State and private sector capabilities, the EPA established a voluntary proficiency program (Radon Measurement Proficiency Program) for radon laboratories and com- mercial measurement firms. A State Profi- ciency Report (EPA 520/1-91-014), which gives information on specific radon mea- surement firms in your area, can be ob- tained from your State radon office or from your EPA Regional Office. Appendix E: Radon

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of IAQ.net Resources - EPA Building Air Quality Guide-1991