|Health Factors:||Housing & Transit|
|Decision Makers:||Community Development Professionals Local Government State Government Public Health Professionals & Advocates|
|Population Reach:||100% of WI's population|
|Impact on Disparities:|
Is this program or policy in use in your community? Tell us about it.
Radon mitigation programs aim to prevent radon from entering occupied buildings and to lower existing indoor air radon levels. Radon mitigation systems can include soil depressurization using a vent pipe system and a fan, sealing cracks and openings in building foundations, home or room pressurization, heat recovery ventilation, or natural ventilation (US EPA-Radon).
There is some evidence that radon mitigation programs, particularly those using active soil depressurization methods, reduce exposure to radon and reduce the likelihood of developing lung cancer (Sandel 2010, NCHH-Jacobs 2009, Sethi 2012, Steck 2012, Lantz 2013). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.
Active soil depressurization systems, which remove radon by suctioning radon gas from beneath a building’s foundation into a vent pipe and using a fan to blow it into the atmosphere where it can disperse quickly, are most effective at reducing radon levels (Sandel 2010, NCHH-Jacobs 2009, Steck 2012, Sethi 2012). Additional evidence is needed to determine the effectiveness of other mitigation interventions such as passive air, room pressurization, heat recovery ventilation, and radon mitigation for drinking water (NCHH-Jacobs 2009, US EPA-Radon). The effectiveness of each measure varies based on individual building characteristics (Sethi 2012).
The health benefits of radon mitigation vary depending on how many people are affected by the intervention and their individual characteristics (Gray 2009). Since radon exposure significantly increases the risk of lung cancer for smokers (Lantz 2013, Sethi 2012, Lichtenstein 2008), radon mitigation programs can have the greatest health benefits and be most cost effective when targeted at smokers or other high-risk populations (Lantz 2013).
Mitigation is often undertaken by individual property owners or tenants. The cost of mitigation and a lack of concern over elevated radon levels are often reasons individuals decide against mitigation. Concern over real estate values, living in a newer home (less than 10 years old), and possession of a college education are characteristics associated with the choice to mitigate (Riesenfeld 2007).
Most states have a radon protection program through their Department of Health. The US EPA includes information on state radon programs and contacts (US EPA-Radon contacts).
Wisconsin’s Radon Mitigation Program collects data on all radon tests in the state and operates 16 radon information centers. The program also provides information on how to upgrade homes to reduce radon leakage and offers a list of certified contractors to assist in radon abatement (WI DHS-Radon).
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