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Complete Health Indicator Report of Radon

Definition

Radon is a naturally occurring gas produced by the decay of uranium in soil, rock, and water. You cannot see, smell, or taste radon gas, but it can accumulate in buildings as it moves through cracks and holes in building foundations. Radon is more dense than most gases present in the air, therefore it is commonly found in basements. The accumulation of radon in your home can pose a danger to your family's health, as it is the second leading cause of lung cancer (after smoking). Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L).

Numerator

Radon test results data in pCi/L for home radon tests ordered through the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ). Radon data from the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS) uses the individual weighted responses to radon questions by Utah residents.

Denominator

If applicable: [[br]] Radon test results use the total number of tests.[[br]] Radon BRFSS survey data use the individually weighted number of respondents.

Data Interpretation Issues

'''There are certain data issues that users should take into consideration when using this data.''' __Radon Test Results:__ *These data include tests that occurred both pre- and post-mitigation. *These tests are only those that are reported to the Radon Program at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ). *Counties are reported by the residence where the test kit was shipped to. This means a test that is used in a different county from where it was shipped could be misclassified. *Radon testing is optional in Utah and must be conducted by homeowners' and/or renters' choice; there are no systematic testing procedures. Therefore, only homes that actually conducted a radon test are reported. *If multiple tests are conducted in a single household, all test results will be reported, regardless of differences in the radon pCi/L level. *Differences in housing structure, age, and state of repair is a major determinant of radon exposure risk. Due to housing differences, two neighbors can have entirely different radon test results, which reinforces the importance of all citizens to test their home for radon. *If the test did not detect radon, then the limit of detection for that test was reported as the radon level at that location.[[br]] [[br]] __BRFSS Radon Data:__ *Radon questions were asked in 2013, but not the 2014 or 2015 surveys. *The questions are adjusted based on the response by the adult respondent; individual knowledge of a house could vary. *It is unclear how an individual would answer some of the questions if their house was mitigated for radon. *This data may not be as representative as other BRFSS data because radon can be extremely different in similar or nearby houses.

Why Is This Important?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are related to radon. Exposure to radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall. Those who smoke and are exposed to radon have an especially high risk of developing lung cancer. Testing your home for radon levels is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. Tests for your home are inexpensive and easy. Tests can be purchased at home improvement stores, the National Safety Council, and from Utah's Division of Radiation Control ([http://radon.utah.gov Utah Radon Program], where the cost of a test kit is $10 for Utah residents). If your home radon test results measure 4.0 pCi/L or higher, the EPA recommends you take action to lower the amount of radon in your home. A mitigation system may be installed by a certified contractor and usually costs between $1,000 and $2,500. For a list of qualified mitigation contractors contact the National Radon Proficiency Program, the National Radon Safety Board, or by going to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) [http://radon.utah.gov/ Radon Program] and clicking on "Certified Mitigators/RRNC". Short-term radon tests require 48 to 72 hours to complete. Before testing, the house should be closed for about 12 hours and then the test instrument is activated and left in place for 48 hours or more. Activated charcoal tests are commonly used in short-term tests. It is important to place the radon test in the lowest lived-in level of the home. For example, if the basement is frequently used, place the test in the basement. Otherwise, place it on the first floor. Be sure to carefully follow all instructions provided in the radon test kit. There are tests that take more than 91 days to complete and are conducted with the house in a normal living mode. These long-term results give a more representative picture of the true radon levels in the home; fluctuations in temperature and pressure are detected and factored into the value. These tests are not currently reported to UDEQ.

How Are We Doing?

Currently, only a very small portion of Utah's population has tested their homes for radon. In order to get better information and save lives from lung cancer, more people need to test.

What Is Being Done?

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) Radon Program is alerting Utahns to make testing their homes for radon gas a high priority. To assist citizens, the division is offering radon test kits for a reduced cost at [http://radon.utah.gov/] or by calling 1-800-458-0145. The Division is also reaching out to citizens through the media, quarterly newsletters, public information sessions, Real Estate Continuing Education programs, and public presentations on "How to Protect Yourself and Family from Radon" and "Radon Resistant New Construction." To schedule a presentation refer to the contact information above.

Available Services

[http://radon.utah.gov/ Utah Radon Program] - To order a radon test kit click on "Order Radon Test Kit" [http://geology.utah.gov/hazards/radon/ Utah Geological Survey - Radon Information & Maps] [http://www.nrsb.org/ National Radon Safety Board]


Related Indicators

Related Relevant Population Characteristics Indicators:




Graphical Data Views

Radon Potential Based on Geology, Utah, 1993

supplemental image
This is the digitized version of a map created by the Utah Geological Survey in 1993. The original map was done by the [http://geology.utah.gov/ Utah Geologic Survey], a division within the Utah Department of Natural Resources. The outlines on this map represent the counties of Utah. Low radon risk: The geology of this area is likely to have a test of <2 pCi/dL. Individual houses will vary though. Medium radon risk: The geology of this area will likely result in a test of radon at 2-4 pCi/dL. High radon risk: The geology will likely result in a radon test over the EPA action level of 4 pCi/dL.


Data Source

Utah Geological Survey, Utah Department of Natural Resources


Percentage of Respondents Reporting Their Homes Had Been Tested for Radon, Utah, 2013

::chart - missing::
confidence limits

Yes/NoPercentage of RespondentsLower LimitUpper Limit
Record Count: 3
Yes18.2%16.9%19.5%
No80.0%78.6%81.4%
Unknown1.8%1.3%2.4%

Data Notes

Question text: "Have you ever had your home tested for radon gas?"

Data Source

Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health


Percentage of Respondents Whose Homes Had Been Tested That Reported a High Level of Radon, Utah, 2013

::chart - missing::
confidence limits

Yes/NoPercentage of Respondents With Homes TestedLower LimitUpper Limit
Record Count: 2
Yes9.8%7.4%12.1%
No90.2%87.9%92.6%

Data Notes

The denominator of this graph is the number of survey respondents who reported that their home had been tested for radon gas. Question text: "Did the radon test show a high level which is usually defined as at or above 4 picocuries per liter?"

Data Source

Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health


Percentage of Respondents Reporting No Radon Test by Reason Not Tested, Utah, 2013

::chart - missing::
confidence limits

The top reason for not testing the home for radon shows that not all Utah residents are aware of radon. The second highest response shows that some residents may know that a basement that is lived in is potentially at the highest risk for radon gas.
Most Important Reason for Not Testing for RadonPercent of RespondentsLower LimitUpper Limit
Record Count: 17
Haven't Thought About It34.6%32.6%36.7%
Not at Risk/Not Needed14.1%12.6%15.5%
Don't Know What Radon Is13.3%11.6%14.9%
Don't Own Home/Renting8.1%6.9%9.3%
House Is New8.0%6.9%9.2%
Cost5.3%4.3%6.2%
No Time3.2%2.4%4.0%
Not Recommended2.9%2.2%3.5%
Don't Know How Testing Is Done/How Test Works2.8%2.0%3.5%
Too Lazy2.6%2.0%3.3%
Don't Know Where to Get Test2.3%1.7%3.0%
Don't Want to Know1.1%0.7%1.5%
Planning to Do It Soon0.6%0.3%1.0%
House Is Old0.5%0.2%0.7%
House Was Tested by Previous Owner0.4%0.1%0.7%
Test Doesn't Work0.2%0.0%0.4%
Too Many Other Problems With House0.0%0.0%0.1%

Data Notes

The denominator of this table is the number of respondents who reported they had not had their home tested for radon gas. Question text: "What is the most important reason you have not had your home tested for radon gas?"

Data Source

Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health


Percentage of Respondents Reporting Perceived Health Conditions Associated With Radon, Utah, 2013

::chart - missing::
confidence limits

About half of Utah residents know that radon gas is most often associated with lung cancer. The other health conditions have not been shown to be associated with radon gas. Additionally, radon gas is widely believed to be the second leading cause of lung cancer (after smoking).
Health ConditionPercent of RespondentsLower LimitUpper Limit
Record Count: 8
Lung Cancer51.6%49.0%54.3%
Asthma18.5%16.3%20.6%
Not Associated With Any Health Condition17.0%14.9%19.1%
Emphysema3.9%2.9%4.9%
Some Other Cond.3.7%2.6%4.7%
Breast Cancer2.2%1.3%3.1%
Heart Disease1.8%1.2%2.5%
Stroke1.3%0.6%1.9%

Data Notes

Question text: "What health condition is most often associated with radon gas?" Responses were open-ended and then categorized by interviewer.

Data Source

Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health

References and Community Resources

[http://epht.health.utah.gov/epht-view/topic/Radon.html Utah Environmental Public Health Tracking - Radon] [http://radon.utah.gov Utah Department of Environmental Quality - Radon Program] [http://geology.utah.gov/utahgeo/hazards/radon.htm Utah Geological Survey - Radon] [http://epa.gov/radon Environmental Protection Agency - Radon]

More Resources and Links

Evidence-based community health improvement ideas and interventions may be found at the following sites:

Additional indicator data by state and county may be found on these Websites:

Medical literature can be queried at the PubMed website.

For an on-line medical dictionary, click on this Dictionary link.

Page Content Updated On 09/14/2017, Published on 08/10/2018
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site (http://ibis.health.state.gov). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 15 October 2018 3:46:07 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: http://ibis.health.state.gov ".

Content updated: Fri, 10 Aug 2018 15:28:06 MDT