WASHINGTON - The U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, and the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Veterans Affairs have joined forces to launch the Federal Radon Action Plan. The plan brings together commitments to help reduce exposure to radon and protect the health of Americans through leveraging and advancing existing local, state, and national programs. According to the government, radon exposure is the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer and leads to an estimated 21,000 deaths each year.

“With nearly one in 15 homes affected by elevated levels of radon and thousands dying each year from radon-induced cancer, it’s time to step up our actions in the federal government,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Through the Federal Radon Action Plan, we’re working with partner agencies to raise awareness about the threat of radon in our homes and to take steps to mitigate this hazard. Together our efforts will help reduce radon exposure and make our homes, schools, and communities healthier places to live, learn, work, and play.”

The Federal Radon Action Plan brings together government agencies to demonstrate the importance of radon risk reduction, address finance and incentive issues to drive testing and mitigation, and build demand for services from industry professionals. According to the government, the plan will help spur greater action in the marketplace, create jobs in the private sector, and significantly reduce exposure to radon. With the help of all agency networks, approximately 7.5 million buildings and homes in the United States are expected to receive information and gain awareness of this public health risk.

The plan includes federal government actions to reduce radon risks:

• Launching a cross-government outreach initiative to educate families about the health risks associated with radon exposure and the solutions to address the risks.

• Incorporating radon testing and mitigation into federal programs.

• Investing in new standards and updating codes for measurement and mitigation in schools, daycare facilities, and multifamily housing.

• Establishing incentives that drive testing and mitigation in the private and public sectors.

Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, and odorless radioactive gas. According to the government, approximately one in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon, exposing millions of people to this dangerous gas. EPA and the Surgeon General urge people to test their homes for radon at least every two years.

For information on the Federal Radon Action Plan, visit www.epa.gov/radon/action_plan.html.

Publication date:07/18/2011