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					Radon At Tahoe


        by Jeff Miner

For the Tahoe Area Sierra Club
       February 18, 2010
    Radon at Lake Tahoe
 The Problem
 The Solution

 Why We Ignore Radon

 Action We Could Take

         An Overview
            Radon At Tahoe
For 24 years I had high levels of radon gas in
 my house, and I did not know it. When I
 tested my house and understood the problem, I
 was able to fix it myself. This web page is
 dedicated to people like myself who want to
 know if they have a radon problem and want to
 get it fixed.
Do It Yourself Manual
Continuous Electronic Radon Tester
Radon Movement
   EPA
    California
    Radon
    Map
   EPA
    Nevada
    Radon
    Map
Radon does not stop at borders
          Four Studies

 1989 - California Radon Survey
 1991 - Nevada Radon Survey

 2007 - Tahoe Radon Survey

 2009 - CGS Tahoe Radon Potential


         But very little action
     California DHS statewide radon
               study 1988-89
   ―The Sierra Nevada region was significantly
    higher than other areas….‖
   Estimated that 11-45% of homes are above the
    U.S. EPA action level.
   Only 1% of homes in California have elevated
    radon, low radon state.
   Sierra Nevada are a low populated region
   Conclusion: We are not a priority, so no action
    taken for last 20 years.
    Nevada
    1991 Radon Survey

   10% of Nevada homes
    have elevated radon
   But Zephyr Cove:
    69%* of homes have
    elevated radon

   No action taken to alert
    Zephyr Cove residents.

   Nevada Radon program
    recently taken over by
    University of Nevada,
    Reno Cooperative
    Extension
   * The highest in the state!
        2007 - Tahoe Radon Survey
   California Dept. of Public Health sent 7,700
    letters to Tahoe Area residents in :
    •   El Dorado County
    •   Placer County
    •   Nevada County
   Over 1,400 tests were received back
   Results showed that over 35% of homes in the
    Sierra Nevada and 39% of homes in South Lake
    Tahoe have elevated radon.
Current Radon Tests Results
   After 2007 Tahoe Radon Survey
2007 - Tahoe Radon Survey
2009 California Geological Survey
     Tahoe Radon Potential
2009 California Geological Survey
     Tahoe Radon Potential
              Let’s Review:
      Is Radon a Problem at Tahoe?
   Radon causes lung cancer. 2nd only to cigarette
    smoke. 21,000 deaths a year from radon.
   Granite is high in Uranium, Radium, Radon
   Tahoe has plenty of granite. Sierra batholith.
   90% of South Tahoe homes are in high radon
    geology areas. Actual tests so far 39% test high.
   So, why are we not doing more about it?
   Answer: Politics and Psychology.
 Radon Ordinance
 Appendix F of IRC
Radon Resistant New Construction
       El Dorado County Part 1
    2007 Radon Awareness Program
       OBJECTIVES:
       Develop awareness of radon and its possible health hazards
          Distribute pamphlets at local grocery stores and post offices
          Public presentations at Board of Realtors, service groups, special
           events, etc.
          Board/City Resolutions to support January as National Radon
           Action Month
          Radon awareness insert with utility bills
       Encourage community members to seek additional
        information about radon.
          Public service announcements on local radio stations/newspaper
           articles
       Inform community members as to various methods/sources
        for home radon testing.
          Display test kits at local lumber and hardware stores
   El Dorado County Part 2
2007 Radon Awareness Program
   Encourage community members to test homes for radon.
       Provide coupons for free test kits (if available from State)
       Promote State program for $5 test kits
       Work with Middle School/High School Science teachers to do
        radon project with their students—test their homes and track
        results
   Inform community members on Radon Reduction
    Methods
       Send letters to survey participants with radon results at or above
        action level
       Provide copies of “How to Fix Your Home”
       Consider providing workshop for homeowners
       Expand list of State Certified Radon Mitigators
   El Dorado County Part 3
2007 Radon Awareness Program

    Encourage builders to include ―Radon Resistant New Construction‖
     (RRNC) in the construction of new homes.
    Workshop for contractors, architects, engineers on methods of
     RRNC
    Recommend to Development Services the adoption of a
     RRNC code for Tahoe area (similar to Appendix F of the
     International Residential Code)
    Consider sending a Building Inspector and an Environmental
     Health Specialist to NEHA Radon certification class.
    Provide copies of “Building Radon Out” at City and
     County Building Departments and TRPA
    Encourage radon reduction as part of Green Building
       El Dorado County Part 4
    2007 Radon Awareness Program
   MEASUREMENTS OF SUCCESS:
   Track the number of tests submitted for testing and their results
   Track the number of homes built with RRNC

   TIMELINE FOR IMPLEMENTATION:
   December 2007:
   Web site improvements, letters out to survey participants with results at or
    above action level, school district radon survey results
   January 2008:
   Radon Awareness Month, resolutions, coupons/ free radon tests kits,
    public outreach, student projects at schools
   February 2008:
        Workshops for homeowners/contractors
   Real Estate Transactions
      Natural Hazard
    Disclosure Statement
 Required for All Real Estate Sales in California

Radon Hazards in El Dorado County are listed as


             Moderate
      LEED Green Building
    United States Green Building Council’s
        LEED Certification Program


 Does NOT require RRNC
(Radon Resistant New Construction) on LEED
 Certified Green Buildings in El Dorado, Placer
 or Nevada Counties (moderate radon counties)
   What Could The County Do?
Test county buildings at Tahoe
Train contractors and builders in RRNC
Move forward to complete the items on the Radon
  Awareness Program list
Develop a program to work and collaborate with
  local citizens, myself included
Expand the EMD web site to include local
  statistics and maps
     What Could the County Do?
Support efforts to get the LEED green building certification
  program to recognize Tahoe as a High, not Moderate radon
  potential area
Support efforts to get the Real Estate Hazard Disclosure Report to
  use current radon maps, not the old EPA Radon Map which still
  shows Tahoe as a Moderate radon risk area
The above item would really increase the awareness of the actual
  radon potential of this area, as reported in the CGS Radon
  Potential Report, since every real estate transaction in California
  is required to have the hazard report and currently it is
  misleading.
What Action To Take?
Moral: Don’t wait for government to act


Test your own home
          Reasons people test.

        Reasons people don’t test.

          Time for Questions.
Newborn Radon Program
Radon Tee World Trek
Building Radon
      Out
Radon Ready New Construction – RRNC   On Slab Foundation
Crawl Space Foundation

      Mitigation
Slab Foundation

  Mitigation
Pipe Runs under barrier cloth and
      out through air vent
Fan and vent pipe on outside
   Electricity
110 volt or 12 volt
Certified Radon Mitigators in
          California
Certified Radon Mitigators in
          California
California Certified Radon Testers
LEED for Homes Indoor Air Quality
 Not a priority so not taken seriously by builders
Training
Hear Nothing
See Nothing
Do Nothing
           Radon and Business
   Radon Ordinances and Building Codes
   Large Problem yet Unrealized
   No Competition but also Not Much Business
   Good Seasonal Job for Contractor
   Concept of the ―Tipping Point‖
   Easy to get trained and certified
International Building Code
El Dorado County Leaves Radon
   Out of Community Update
        2005 to Present
Radon in the News
Cancer Survivors Against Radon
           Cansar.org
Radon and Real Estate Sales
     U.S. Forest Service Building
   High in Radon   20 – 60 pCi/L
    Radon Often Ignored by Builders
        Even “Green” Builders
   Not in building code – no radon ordinance
   LEED – Radon is low priority. Only 1 point.
   LEED for Homes - Required only for High
    radon counties on old EPA map. Not accurate.
   Commercial Building - Not required
   Schools – Not required
   Government Buildings – Not required
   Non-LEED homes – Not required
                 What’s Next?
   Where there’s a will, there’s a way
   First education, then motivation, then action
   Start with your own home, test it.
   New projects should address radon – new
    school building, etc.
   Government should test their buildings
   ―Green‖ builders should be held to a higher
    standard.
             I Need Your Help
   Join me in raising radon awareness
   Get your own house tested
   Tell your friends
   Bring radon up at Tahoe Business Gatherings
   Your ideas and participation
     With your help
radon induced lung cancer
     can be avoided


   Thank You
         Jeff Miner
       Radon At Tahoe

				
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