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  1. #1
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    Default Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    This real estate agent's blog is about to boil over with the real estate agents' complete misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the EPA protocols for radon testing. The blog started out complaining about an inspector's mistake on a radon test and the typical whining about home inspection reports being too long before quickly veering off on the subject of radon testing in basements. Some of the agents (one in particular) are WAY out in left field regarding the protocols. I was surprised at the complete lack of understanding some of them have about such an important facet of their business. I shudder to think what advice these agents have given their clients regarding radon and radon testing.

    You can read the blog here: Home inspections – finding the right balance

    Below are a few quotes from some of the participants. Fortunately a couple of informed home inspectors are trying to correct the agents' mistakes but so far to no avail.

    Radon testing in unfinished basements is not legal and never has been. There have been numerous lawsuits regarding Radon testing . As it stands now , testing is only permitted in finished areas that must have finished walls,finished ceilings, finished floors , heat , lighting ,...
    I agree Radon is junk science . . . .The most recent study of homes with high Radon indicates that there is no significant risk from Radon.The chances of Radon being a health issue is about the same as being hit by a meteor on the Tobin Bridge.There are no documented cases of Radon health issues in MA.
    . . . Inspectors like barry01 clearly do not understand the issues .All the studies are based on 10-12 hour exposure to high levels on a daily basis . It is a similar situation to sunburn, ( also radiation). If you are only in the sun for a short period, you are not going to get a sunburn.
    In every situation that I have been involved in, when a test performed in an unfinished basement has been challenged ,the ruling has been made that testing an unfinished basement is not valid.
    I think if you investigate further, you will find that the space has to be heated.
    EPA requires that the tested areas have finished walls and ceilings, and heat.Without finished walls,ceilings , and heat the results of the tests are inaccurate . That is why testing an unfinished basement is invalid.


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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    The statements you quoted could be correct. While the EPA has protocols, they also leave radon governance to each individual State. So depending on where the posters are located, they could be correct.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    The statements you quoted could be correct. While the EPA has protocols, they also leave radon governance to each individual State. So depending on where the posters are located, they could be correct.
    What about the following statement?

    EPA requires that the tested areas have finished walls and ceilings, and heat.Without finished walls,ceilings , and heat the results of the tests are inaccurate . That is why testing an unfinished basement is invalid.
    I don't recall EPA having any such requirement.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  4. #4

    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Good morning, Bruce –

    Not only does Ken have a valid point, but the “misinformed” real estate agent is absolutely correct – There are no valid studies that have shown that radon, as encountered in residences, increases the risk of cancer by even the slightest amount.

    In fact, each of the valid studies to date show one of two things: 1) No risk or, 2) inverse risk (as radon concentration goes up, risk of lung cancer goes down).

    Finally, the radon testing protocol used by EPA certified radon inspectors IS junk science and that is why it is not used, and cannot be used, to evaluate human exposures in actual occupational settings or other settings where radon levels are toxicologically significant and why being EPE certified only certifies the radon tester to “test” radon in real estate transactions.

    So, far, it seems that maybe the realtor is winning this one.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    What about the following statement?



    I don't recall EPA having any such requirement.
    It is old information from the 1993 document. I think it changed in 2006
    Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon | Radon | US EPA

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Thank you, Scott.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    What about the following statement?



    I don't recall EPA having any such requirement.

    I believe Scott was correct in it being in older requirements, but I believe the statement is not in the section covering real estate transactions. That's where much confusion comes in. The testing protocols are different depending on if the person already owns the home or is in the process of buying the home.

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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    I believe Scott was correct in it being in older requirements, but I believe the statement is not in the section covering real estate transactions. That's where much confusion comes in. The testing protocols are different depending on if the person already owns the home or is in the process of buying the home.
    It is amazing how many RE agents don't understand that. It is a good example of "a little knowledge can be dangerous".

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    I believe Scott was correct in it being in older requirements, but I believe the statement is not in the section covering real estate transactions. That's where much confusion comes in. The testing protocols are different depending on if the person already owns the home or is in the process of buying the home.
    The confusion (ignorance) comes in because many agents bury their heads in the sand and don't care to read or learn. In reality, the EPA guidance is quite clear:

    "Radon Test Device Placement
    EPA recommends that the test device(s) be placed in the lowest level of the home that could be used regularly, whether it is finished or unfinished. Conduct the test in any space that could be used by the buyer as a bedroom, play area, family room, den, exercise room, or workshop. Based on their client’s intended use of the space, the qualified testing professional should identify the appropriate test location and inform their client (buyer). Do not test in a closet, stairway, hallway, crawl space or in an enclosed area of high humidity or high air velocity. An enclosed area may include a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or furnace room." (Emphasis mine.)

    <Soapbox Rant> While no autopsy of a lung cancer victim can identify radon as the cause of the initial tumor, I believe the same can be said about tobacco smoke. To those naysayers who say radon isn't harmful or cannot be proven to be a carcinogen, factor in that the alpha particle strike from Radon or its daughter product Polonium causes structural damage to the acrylic-like plastic used in the long-term radon monitors, meaning that damage to human lung tissue is highly probable. Yes, the strike can kill the cell or damage its ability to reproduce, but bystander cells can be damaged at the DNA level that allows them to both mutate into cancerous cells AND to then divide and reproduce into even more cancerous cells. Columbia University has published at least one study concluding that they were able to create damage to human tissue that leads to cancer with single alpha particle strikes. Lung cancer is one of the worst ways to go. Don't believe me, that's OK, I'm not a PhD with a long list of credentials behind my name, but some of my friends do have the credentials and understand what is happening at the molecular level. If you ask someone who has lung cancer or has lost a loved one to lung cancer and they'll tell you that mitigating a home with elevated radon is well worth the cost IF it can save just 1 life from the deadliest form of cancer. Do I earn my living from radon, yes I do. But I have to say that once I met people facing lung cancer and knowing that they had but a short time to live, my whole perspective changed and it became a passion. Radon exposure is like throwing darts blindfolded, except in this case you don't want to find the bulls eye! </Soapbox Rant>

    I read this today: CDC Data & Statistics | Feature: Rates of New Lung Cancer Cases.

    Also check out http://cansar.org. This is where I met some of the people who inspire me the most.

    Best regards,

    Shawn Price


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    Post Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Perhaps real estate agents are not the only group with a varied percentage who do not understand Radon and the associated health risks of exposure.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    It is really necessary for these agents to quote specific sources when they are discussing reports and testing so that their peers can check the facts themselves. Same goes for all of us.


  12. #12

    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Good morning, Shawn:

    You entire post demonstrates a lack of knowledge in the matter being discussed, and merely regurgitates the misinformation that if often fed to radon testers. Let’s look at your post:

    <Soapbox Rant> While no autopsy of a lung cancer victim can identify radon as the cause of the initial tumor, I believe the same can be said about tobacco smoke.

    Probably the most important part of this statement, involves your belief system and sets the premise upon which the rest of the post is predicated: your belief system.

    Facts are objective, belief systems are subjective even if those belief systems may incorporate objective facts. Your first state is objectively incorrect to the extent that on the balance, if someone is known to be a smoker, and the autopsy reveals heavy deposition and lung damage consistent with smoking, then one can surmise the etiology was smoking.

    In the case of no other apparent etiology, why jump to the unsupportable conclusion that since it was smoking it MUST have been radon? After all, there many other more probable etiologies other than radon, and those could include benzene from gasoline, genetic predisposition, PAHs from occupational or nonoccupation exposures, occupational exposures to a myriad of other compounds, even idiopathic genesis has a greater chance of being the cause than radon. This was precisely the argument made by Dr. B. Cohen in Nature magazine wherein he pointed out the junk science of artificially grabbing a popular myth and using it to plug a hole speculative data.

    Your next comment brings in two new misconceptions – proving negatives and the concept of dose. I will break the statement into two parts and address each:

    Part 1
    To those naysayers who say radon isn't harmful or cannot be proven to be a carcinogen,

    Again, you are missing the objective fact. Those “naysayers” as you call them are called epidemiologists – and they have diligently set out specifically to prove that radon at concentrations seen in residences does increase the risk of cancer, but they have failed to so do – because there was no evidence to support the argument. According to good scientific method, if there is no evidence to support the hypothesis being tested, one must conclude that the hypothesis is false, and accept the null hypothesis.

    Part 2
    …factor in that the alpha particle strike from Radon or its daughter product Polonium causes structural damage to the acrylic-like plastic used in the long-term radon monitors, meaning that damage to human lung tissue is highly probable.

    Ignoring for a moment that you are rather confused about polonium, (which raises a different argument) you entirely miss concept of dose. NODBODY is challenging the mechanism of tumor genesis, Shawn, but what you are failing to factor in is the body’s amazing ability to repair damaged tissue and repair that damage very effectively (in fact, the issue is not even damage to lung tissue as you erroneously believe, but rather it is damage to the DNA – there is a big difference).

    What you are trying to argue in the remaining part of your post is known as the “one hit theory of carcinogenesis” – an argument that has been known to be incorrect for many decades. It is well known that probabilistic increases in risk occur when the dose overwhelms the repair mechanism – more curiously, and what is not understood is fact that as the dose continues to increase to extreme doses, the risk plummets back to background levels.

    The reality is that NOBODY argues against the fact that massive doses of radon, such as that seen in mines, increases the risk of cancer. That is not a contention, those doses are known to increase the risk of cancer and can be shown to confidently follow predictable models – what is contentious in the radon issue is that not a single model, not a single study, not a single shred of evidence anywhere on the planet has demonstrated that radon exposure at concentrations seen in homes is sufficiently elevated to result in a dose that can overcome the DNA repair mechanisms and increase the risk of lung cancer.

    So, it’s not the naysayers who are sticking their heads in the sand, but rather, the promoters of junk science who refuse to release a false belief system that has no basis in fact – we saw global warming crumble in the face of mounting ridicule, but there are still (foolish) people who can’t let go. These are the flat-earthers, not legitimate scientists.

    It is laudable that you have a passionate plea to save lives – even if you do make a buck on it – but the foundation of your plea is steeped in myth and misconception. It’s rather like those (very nice and well intentioned) people who run around and unnecessarily frighten people with nonsense and gobbledygook about EMF exposures from high tension power lines, or those well intentioned nutters, who try to save people's lives by preventing exposures to toxic moulds, or those well intentioned nutters who tried to save lives with alarming reports of global warming, and those well intentioned nutters to tried to save lives with reports about Alar, and those well intentioned… Well, I have several dozens of more examples, but we can stop there.

    Good intentions, Shawn, are not, in my opinion, justification for lying or for frightening people unnecessarily. I agree completely with the US EPA who states that they have no scientific data to support their policy, and I agree with the US EPA who says that their risk models are not valid. I disagree with the policy wonks who think that good intentions justify frightening people unnecessarily, and help support an artificial multibillion dollar industry that is based on mere speculation.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    The reality is that NOBODY argues against the fact that massive doses of radon, such as that seen in mines, increases the risk of cancer. That is not a contention, those doses are known to increase the risk of cancer and can be shown to confidently follow predictable models – what is contentious in the radon issue is that not a single model, not a single study, not a single shred of evidence anywhere on the planet has demonstrated that radon exposure at concentrations seen in homes is sufficiently elevated to result in a dose that can overcome the DNA repair mechanisms and increase the risk of lung cancer
    .

    Is "massive doses" a specific number? What exactly does that mean? You are admitting that "massive doses" of radon increases the risk of cancer. What exactly is that massive dose number? Is it 2 pc/l? is it 5, maybe 30? Maybe 100.

    Then you mention the "concentrations seen in homes". I've seen 1 pc/l, and I've seen 30. Are you saying, in your vast experience that a person exposed to 30 pc/l 24 hours a day will be totally fine?

    Maybe we should just tell clients, "Don't worry about radon exposure. Caoimhín P. Connell says your body's DNA repair system will always repair the damage that radon causes".

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    MY THOUGHTS

    in this world if we don't recommend a radon test be done and the levels come back high on the next transaction. who do the call?

    i have a paragraph in my inspection agreement that states

    CLIENT DOES NOT WANT RADON TESTING DONE--they sign it and it's over


    again smoking causes cancer--or does it--let the experts decide--yeah right

    cover thy butt
    cvf


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    Good morning, Shawn:

    You entire post demonstrates a lack of knowledge in the matter being discussed, and merely regurgitates the misinformation that if often fed to radon testers. Let’s look at your post:

    <Soapbox Rant> While no autopsy of a lung cancer victim can identify radon as the cause of the initial tumor, I believe the same can be said about tobacco smoke.

    Probably the most important part of this statement, involves your belief system and sets the premise upon which the rest of the post is predicated: your belief system.

    Facts are objective, belief systems are subjective even if those belief systems may incorporate objective facts. Your first state is objectively incorrect to the extent that on the balance, if someone is known to be a smoker, and the autopsy reveals heavy deposition and lung damage consistent with smoking, then one can surmise the etiology was smoking.

    In the case of no other apparent etiology, why jump to the unsupportable conclusion that since it was smoking it MUST have been radon? After all, there many other more probable etiologies other than radon, and those could include benzene from gasoline, genetic predisposition, PAHs from occupational or nonoccupation exposures, occupational exposures to a myriad of other compounds, even idiopathic genesis has a greater chance of being the cause than radon. This was precisely the argument made by Dr. B. Cohen in Nature magazine wherein he pointed out the junk science of artificially grabbing a popular myth and using it to plug a hole speculative data.

    Your next comment brings in two new misconceptions – proving negatives and the concept of dose. I will break the statement into two parts and address each:

    Part 1
    To those naysayers who say radon isn't harmful or cannot be proven to be a carcinogen,

    Again, you are missing the objective fact. Those “naysayers” as you call them are called epidemiologists – and they have diligently set out specifically to prove that radon at concentrations seen in residences does increase the risk of cancer, but they have failed to so do – because there was no evidence to support the argument. According to good scientific method, if there is no evidence to support the hypothesis being tested, one must conclude that the hypothesis is false, and accept the null hypothesis.

    Part 2
    …factor in that the alpha particle strike from Radon or its daughter product Polonium causes structural damage to the acrylic-like plastic used in the long-term radon monitors, meaning that damage to human lung tissue is highly probable.

    Ignoring for a moment that you are rather confused about polonium, (which raises a different argument) you entirely miss concept of dose. NODBODY is challenging the mechanism of tumor genesis, Shawn, but what you are failing to factor in is the body’s amazing ability to repair damaged tissue and repair that damage very effectively (in fact, the issue is not even damage to lung tissue as you erroneously believe, but rather it is damage to the DNA – there is a big difference).

    What you are trying to argue in the remaining part of your post is known as the “one hit theory of carcinogenesis” – an argument that has been known to be incorrect for many decades. It is well known that probabilistic increases in risk occur when the dose overwhelms the repair mechanism – more curiously, and what is not understood is fact that as the dose continues to increase to extreme doses, the risk plummets back to background levels.

    The reality is that NOBODY argues against the fact that massive doses of radon, such as that seen in mines, increases the risk of cancer. That is not a contention, those doses are known to increase the risk of cancer and can be shown to confidently follow predictable models – what is contentious in the radon issue is that not a single model, not a single study, not a single shred of evidence anywhere on the planet has demonstrated that radon exposure at concentrations seen in homes is sufficiently elevated to result in a dose that can overcome the DNA repair mechanisms and increase the risk of lung cancer.

    So, it’s not the naysayers who are sticking their heads in the sand, but rather, the promoters of junk science who refuse to release a false belief system that has no basis in fact – we saw global warming crumble in the face of mounting ridicule, but there are still (foolish) people who can’t let go. These are the flat-earthers, not legitimate scientists.

    It is laudable that you have a passionate plea to save lives – even if you do make a buck on it – but the foundation of your plea is steeped in myth and misconception. It’s rather like those (very nice and well intentioned) people who run around and unnecessarily frighten people with nonsense and gobbledygook about EMF exposures from high tension power lines, or those well intentioned nutters, who try to save people's lives by preventing exposures to toxic moulds, or those well intentioned nutters who tried to save lives with alarming reports of global warming, and those well intentioned nutters to tried to save lives with reports about Alar, and those well intentioned… Well, I have several dozens of more examples, but we can stop there.

    Good intentions, Shawn, are not, in my opinion, justification for lying or for frightening people unnecessarily. I agree completely with the US EPA who states that they have no scientific data to support their policy, and I agree with the US EPA who says that their risk models are not valid. I disagree with the policy wonks who think that good intentions justify frightening people unnecessarily, and help support an artificial multibillion dollar industry that is based on mere speculation.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG
    Hooooooooooooooooweeeeee Caoimhin, I didn't realize that an Industrial Hygienist is also a nuclear physicist, an epidemiologist, a philosopher, sociologist, psychologist, mathematician, statistician, and all around genius. One can learn so much here.

    Oh yes, I still insist that using one's own publication as a reference source is circular logic, which is not a valid substantiation of one's theories or research.

    Please explain your signature disclaimer, "The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others".
    Do you believe it is proper to to prefix and suffix your personal opinion with your professional and employer information?

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    Good morning, Bruce –

    Not only does Ken have a valid point, but the “misinformed” real estate agent is absolutely correct – There are no valid studies that have shown that radon, as encountered in residences, increases the risk of cancer by even the slightest amount.

    In fact, each of the valid studies to date show one of two things: 1) No risk or, 2) inverse risk (as radon concentration goes up, risk of lung cancer goes down).
    "(A)s radon concentration goes up, risk of lung cancer goes down."

    In other words, the more radon you are exposed to the lower your risk of radon-induced lung cancer and conversely the less radon you are exposed to the greater your risk of radon-induced lung cancer. Am I understanding you correctly? How much radiation do you recommend we expose our lungs to to achieve the maximum benefit from radon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    The reality is that NOBODY argues against the fact that massive doses of radon, such as that seen in mines, increases [sic] the risk of cancer. That is not a contention, those doses are known to increase the risk of cancer and can be shown to confidently follow predictable models – what is contentious in the radon issue is that not a single model, not a single study, not a single shred of evidence anywhere on the planet has demonstrated that radon exposure at concentrations seen in homes is sufficiently elevated to result in a dose that can overcome the DNA repair mechanisms and increase the risk of lung cancer.
    Oh, OK. So "massive" doses of radon (e.g., that found in mines) increase the risk of lung cancer.

    Let me see if I am understanding you correctly:

    Low levels of radon are bad.
    High levels of radon are good.
    "Massive" levels of radon are bad.

    I guess at some point the curve bends and there is no longer a benefit from exposure to higher levels of radon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    .
    Is "massive doses" a specific number? What exactly does that mean? You are admitting that "massive doses" of radon increases the risk of cancer. What exactly is that massive dose number? Is it 2 pc/l? is it 5, maybe 30? Maybe 100.

    Then you mention the "concentrations seen in homes". I've seen 1 pc/l, and I've seen 30. Are you saying, in your vast experience that a person exposed to 30 pc/l 24 hours a day will be totally fine?
    I have personally measured radon concentrations as high as 150 pCi/L and I know other inspectors who have measured radon concentrations as high as 700 pCi/L. Would these high levels be considered beneficial or have these measurements crossed over into the "massive" range?

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    ...
    Let me see if I am understanding you correctly:

    Low levels of radon are bad.
    High levels of radon are good.
    "Massive" levels of radon are bad. ...
    Try water as an example:

    Not enough water, you die.
    Reasonable amount of water, you live.
    Too much water, you die (swelling of the brain).

    Just ask Goldilocks.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Try water as an example:

    Not enough water, you die.
    Reasonable amount of water, you live.
    Too much water, you die (swelling of the brain).

    Just ask Goldilocks.
    Touche.

    However, the last time I checked water is required to support life and it does not cause lung cancer.

    I'd like to know where the "sweetspot" is for radon - the level of radon at which my risk of lung cancer is the lowest. If you believe what was stated above your risk of radon-induced lung cancer is higher if your lungs are not exposed to enough alpha particle activity at radon levels below the "sweetspot".

    Does anyone know if any studies have been done that compare the incidence of lung cancer in never-smokers in people who live in Zone 3 (e.g., most of Florida and Texas) versus people who live in Zone 1 (e.g., Iowa).

    Last edited by Bruce Breedlove; 11-29-2010 at 07:56 AM. Reason: corrected zone numbers
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    This also reminds me of the recently published study showing that heavy drinkers, believe it or not, live longer than non-drinkers, although not as long as moderate drinkers.

    So,

    no alcohol = bad
    some alcohol = good
    a lot of alcohol = better than no alcohol

    Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds - TIME

    Goldilocks was too young to drink, though.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    The World Health Organization has done and exhaustive study on the human health effects of radon gas. Their 50+ page report concludes that there is no safe level of radon, and that 3% to 14% percent of all lung cancers are related to radon. While the U.S. EPA has set the radon action level at 4.0 pCi/L, I believe the WHO recommends 2.7 pCi/L.

    You can download the report or read summaries here:
    WHO | Radon


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Bissex View Post
    The World Health Organization has done and exhaustive study on the human health effects of radon gas. Their 50+ page report concludes that there is no safe level of radon, and that 3% to 14% percent of all lung cancers are related to radon. While the U.S. EPA has set the radon action level at 4.0 pCi/L, I believe the WHO recommends 2.7 pCi/L.

    You can download the report or read summaries here:
    WHO | Radon

    Maybe the WHO is getting a cut of that multi-billion dollar industry.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  23. #23
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    Exclamation Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    It is simply amazing.

    One writer states: "Again, you are missing the objective fact. Those “naysayers” as you call them are called epidemiologists – and they have diligently set out specifically to prove that radon at concentrations seen in residences does increase the risk of cancer, but they have failed to so do – because there was no evidence to support the argument. According to good scientific method, if there is no evidence to support the hypothesis being tested, one must conclude that the hypothesis is false, and accept the null hypothesis."

    This is absolutely untrue. It can only be concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the hypothesis. It is never appropriate to conclude that a hypothesis is false. It is appropriate to conclude that there is insufficient evidence to support a hypothesis. Lack of support does NOT prove any thing. It may simply be an indication that the testing method was flawed.

    As for evidence, perhaps these folk are nothing but time-wasters:
    Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Jun 1;151(11):1091-102. Residential radon gas exposure and lung cancer: the Iowa Radon Lung Cancer Study. Field RW, Steck DJ, Smith BJ, Brus CP, Fisher EL, Neuberger JS, Platz CE, Robinson RA, Woolson RF, Lynch CF.

    College of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA. bil-field@uiowa.edu

    Comment in: Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Nov 1;152(9):895-6.

    Abstract

    Exposure to high concentrations of radon progeny (radon) produces lung cancer in both underground miners and experimentally exposed laboratory animals. To determine the risk posed by residential radon exposure, the authors performed a population-based, case-control epidemiologic study in Iowa from 1993 to 1997. Subjects were female Iowa residents who had occupied their current home for at least 20 years. A total of 413 lung cancer cases and 614 age-frequency-matched controls were included in the final analysis. Excess odds were calculated per 11 working-level months for exposures that occurred 5-19 years (WLM(5-19)) prior to diagnosis for cases or prior to time of interview for controls. Eleven WLM(5-19) is approximately equal to an average residential radon exposure of 4 pCl/liter (148 Bq/m3) during this period. After adjustment for age, smoking, and education, the authors found excess odds of 0.50 (95% confidence interval: 0.004, 1.81) and 0.83 (95% percent confidence interval: 0.11, 3.34) using categorical radon exposure estimates for all cases and for live cases, respectively. Slightly lower excess odds of 0.24 (95 percent confidence interval: -0.05, 0.92) and 0.49 (95 percent confidence interval: 0.03, 1.84) per 11 WLM(5-19) were noted for continuous radon exposure estimates for all subjects and live subjects only. The observed risk estimates suggest that cumulative ambient radon exposure presents an important environmental health hazard.

    PMID: 10873134 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE].

    And then, naturally, there is the experiential learning aspect of the question. Having personal knowledge of two individuals who died of lung cancer and had no known risk factors, other than residential Radon exposure in the 17-23 pCi/l range for a period exceeding 5 years, I am of the opinion that these two deaths are statistically significant, and there is sufficient evidence to refute an argument that Radon exposure was not the cause of death.


    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  24. #24
    Evan Grugett's Avatar
    Evan Grugett Guest

    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Very Interesting Stuff!!!!

    Radon testing has been around here [NYS] for more than 20 years. It has become almost a standard part of the real estate transaction, except on Long Island where the EPA map shows almost no radon, or if the condo unit is more than three stories above ground.

    Agents and many attorneys expect it to be done with the Home Inspection, unless maybe the house is on a slab. This attitude prevails even though the readings we get are way lower than those in earlier posts and frequently below 4.0 pCi/L.

    The issues here continue to be disregard for some of the EPA testing protocol, often test canisters in wrong location, or breaches of the closed house conditions during the tests. Many Home Inspectors in this area do not go back and retrieve the tests, and have the lab send the results directly to the client.

    Many clients are concerned about tampering with the test left in the seller's building and may wait until after they take over the property to test.

    My personal opinions as a generalist Home Inspector about any scientific studies or data about radon & cancer are irrelevant. Let the cleint decide on whether to test or not. I charge $100.00 per test & lab report if done with the inspection.

    The cost of a typical house mitigation system ranges from $1,500.00 to $2,500.00, about the price of a good new refrigerator, and less than a good new stove. An agent is not going to let a deal get away on a $800K to $2.2M house for the cost of a refrigerator!

    Often recommendations that are standard in Home Inspection reports, such as an outside combustion air provision for the boiler room, or sealing the dirt floors in crawl spaces, will reduce the radon levels as a by-product of those improvements.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Thanks Randy. I believe Kevin ( US English for old Irish "Caoimhín") generalized all epidemiologists from one report by a pair who were so meticulous that they used a dialog between "Batman and Robin" as a reporting medium. Real professionalism there.

    I have to agree here also:

    CM: "According to good scientific method, if there is no evidence to support the hypothesis being tested, one must conclude that the hypothesis is false, and accept the null hypothesis."

    RA: This is absolutely untrue. It can only be concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the hypothesis. It is never appropriate to conclude that a hypothesis is false. It is appropriate to conclude that there is insufficient evidence to support a hypothesis. Lack of support does NOT prove any thing. It may simply be an indication that the testing method was flawed.

    So right - how long did it take the Catholic church to admit the hypothesis of a round earth and the earth revolved around the sun. Me thinks flawed scientific methods himself Mr. Connell has. Perhaps he is confusing rules of logic.

    I agree, watching a loved one die from lung cancer is not something I would wish upon even a pompous rear-end voided-space.


    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    .

    Is "massive doses" a specific number? What exactly does that mean?
    Radon levels in mines and caves will vary with ventilation but if memory serves me correctly and I converted from Bq per cubic meter correctly typical levels would around 270 pCi/L to around 20,000 pCi/L.


  27. #27
    Fred Herndon's Avatar
    Fred Herndon Guest

    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    In fact, each of the valid studies to date show one of two things: 1) No risk or, 2) inverse risk (as radon concentration goes up, risk of lung cancer goes down).

    And:

    What you are trying to argue in the remaining part of your post is known as the “one hit theory of carcinogenesis” – an argument that has been known to be incorrect for many decades. It is well known that probabilistic increases in risk occur when the dose overwhelms the repair mechanism – more curiously, and what is not understood is fact that as the dose continues to increase to extreme doses, the risk plummets back to background levels.


    Caomin,
    It would be helpful if you could cite the studies showing this. When you make a statement that is as counterintuitive as this (not saying it couldn't be true, just sounds unlikely) you should back it up with real evidence. It seems to me that Randy has cited a reliable source for his information. Can you do the same?


    Facts are objective, belief systems are subjective even if those belief systems may incorporate objective facts. Your first state is objectively incorrect to the extent that on the balance, if someone is known to be a smoker, and the autopsy reveals heavy deposition and lung damage consistent with smoking, then one can surmise the etiology was smoking.

    In the case of no other apparent etiology, why jump to the unsupportable conclusion that since it was smoking it MUST have been radon? After all, there many other more probable etiologies other than radon, and those could include benzene from gasoline, genetic predisposition, PAHs from occupational or nonoccupation exposures, occupational exposures to a myriad of other compounds, even idiopathic genesis has a greater chance of being the cause than radon. This was precisely the argument made by Dr. B. Cohen in Nature magazine wherein he pointed out the junk science of artificially grabbing a popular myth and using it to plug a hole speculative data.

    Agreed. Simply concluding that the cause for lung cancer must have been radon if they were nonsmokers living in a home with high radon levels is an insupportable conclusion. This is called an inductive inference; it may be true, but further information is needed to verify it. In the case of the smoker who died from lung cancer further corroborating evidence was available, in the case of the nonsmoker, not.



    [QUOTE=Randy Aldering;152154][FONT=System]It is simply amazing.

    This is absolutely untrue. It can only be concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the hypothesis. It is never appropriate to conclude that a hypothesis is false. It is appropriate to conclude that there is insufficient evidence to support a hypothesis. Lack of support does NOT prove any thing. It may simply be an indication that the testing method was flawed.

    Almost correct. It can be appropriate to conclude that a hypothesis is false if it can be proven so, but simply because something cannot be proved beyond a shadow of doubt does not make a conclusion false. Assuming that to be so would be junk science (or, junk logic, to be more precise). It may, however, indicate a lower probability of truth, and sometimes that is all we have to go on.

    A high percentage of our decisions are based on probability, not absolutes. In this case, it seems to me the probability is that radon should be taken seriously as a potential carcinogen in levels occasionally (in my area, at least) found in residential structures.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Herndon View Post
    ...


    Caomin,
    It would be helpful if you could cite the studies showing this...
    I'm not him, but this might help.

    Radon: Risk and Reality

    Caomin has posted extensively on this board over the years about mold and radon.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I'm not him, but this might help.

    Radon: Risk and Reality

    Caomin has posted extensively on this board over the years about mold and radon.
    Did you read this article, look at the titles and dates of the papers? Perhaps I'm being picky here but there is a footnote reference to a page in the December 2009 "American Scientist", no author, article, or other ID. At the bottom of the page it says the web page was created and updated in 2007. Whoops? Doesn't 2009 come after 2007?

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  30. #30
    Shawn Price's Avatar
    Shawn Price Guest

    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    Good morning, Shawn:

    Probably the most important part of this statement, involves your belief system and sets the premise upon which the rest of the post is predicated: your belief system.

    I have been told by friends/colleagues who are scientists familiar with the medical and health physics disciplines that the tumors from radon-induced LC and smoking are often the same and that the cause cannot be truly determined by analyzing the tumor. I happen to believe them and since I am not a coroner I've not seen them for myself. What I expect to hear back is that you've been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.

    Ignoring for a moment that you are rather confused about polonium,

    ...or perhaps not? Perhaps you've forgotten that many of the alpha strikes in the lungs are caused when radon decay products are inhaled? Airborne Polonium isotopes that may are present in many homes include Po218, Po214 (from the Rn222 decay series), Po216 and Po212 from the Rn220 (Thoron) decay series. Since these particles can attach themselves to the inside of the lung, the strike from the alpha particle is pretty close and yes, I believe these strikes are undesirable because they may be the one(s) that can begin the undesirable result of lung cancer.

    What you are trying to argue in the remaining part of your post is known as the “one hit theory of carcinogenesis” – an argument that has been known to be incorrect for many decades.

    Ah ha, maybe here's the problem. You're still reading and quoting decades old literature? Try searching for a paper published through Columbia University, such as this one:

    "
    Radiation risk to low fluences of alpha particles may be greater than we thought.Zhou H, Suzuki M, Randers-Pehrson G, Vannais D, Chen G, Trosko JE, Waldren CA, Hei TK.
    Center for Radiological Research, College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.
    Abstract

    Based principally on the cancer incidence found in survivors of the atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICRP) and the United States National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) have recommended that estimates of cancer risk for low dose exposure be extrapolated from higher doses by using a linear, no-threshold model. This recommendation is based on the dogma that the DNA of the nucleus is the main target for radiation-induced genotoxicity and, as fewer cells are directly damaged, the deleterious effects of radiation proportionally decline. In this paper, we used a precision microbeam to target an exact fraction (either 100% or < or =20%) of the cells in a confluent population and irradiated their nuclei with exactly one alpha particle each. We found that the frequencies of induced mutations and chromosomal changes in populations where some known fractions of nuclei were hit are consistent with non-hit cells contributing significantly to the response. In fact, irradiation of 10% of a confluent mammalian cell population with a single alpha particle per cell results in a mutant yield similar to that observed when all of the cells in the population are irradiated. This effect was significantly eliminated in cells pretreated with a 1 mM dose of octanol, which inhibits gap junction-mediated intercellular communication, or in cells carrying a dominant negative connexin 43 vector. The data imply that the relevant target for radiation mutagenesis is larger than an individual cell and suggest a need to reconsider the validity of the linear extrapolation in making risk estimates for low dose, high linear-energy-transfer (LET) radiation exposure."

    Although I did mis-speak about the cells being human, they were indeed mammalian. Had we not continued to research our world years ago, we might still think the earth is flat. This is one example of a group of researchers who may end up teaching us that old views might not have been correct?

    Good intentions, Shawn, are not, in my opinion, justification for lying or for frightening people unnecessarily. I agree completely with the US EPA who states that they have no scientific data to support their policy, and I agree with the US EPA who says that their risk models are not valid. I disagree with the policy wonks who think that good intentions justify frightening people unnecessarily, and help support an artificial multibillion dollar industry that is based on mere speculation.

    Perhaps you are again citing really old US EPA language, because the ones I've been working with for 20 years now seem to think the science is pretty solid now, as do other Agnecies, such as CDC and NIH to name a couple. Hmmm, multibillion dollar industry, now THAT is funny! At least you saved your best line for last.

    AMDG
    I realize that you're not likely to change your tune any time soon, so we'll just have to agree to disagree. I've seen on your website in the past that you enjoy a good home brew, so if you're ever in the Asheville area I'd be happy to show you a couple of the local micro breweries and resume our debate in person over a cold one.

    Best regards,

    Shawn Price


  31. #31
    Fred Herndon's Avatar
    Fred Herndon Guest

    Cool Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I'm not him, but this might help.

    Radon: Risk and Reality

    Caomin has posted extensively on this board over the years about mold and radon.
    I know, I read some of his posts on the subject a few years ago. Apparently nothing has changed.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Misinformation Flying On EPA Protocols For Radon Testing

    I am glad to see such lively discussion. We don't have a lot of discussion on radon here in NC because we don't have any laws for radon testing, abatement or anything else except it has to go on the disclosuer statement in a real estate deal. I am amazed that there is so many differences in states that do have regulations. I have always believed that radon is a cause for lung cancer and our real estate commission has even included testing on the sales contract right under the termite inspection. There is nothing about home inspections on the contract but in most cases a home inspection get done. I agree that the radon test should be done and let the buyers, sellers, lawyers, bankers and real estate people decide what to do with the results. Radon is considered bad here in levels of 4.0 or more. I don't have to tell anyone what to do. I find about 1 out of 17 tests come back 4.0 or better so we don't do a lot of abatements. We have one man who does the job for $995.00 any house. He gets most of the work. I've placed on the bottom of my invoice for testing that "We repair cheaply installed radon systems". I get a couple of calls a month to repair something. The last one was where a system was installed during construction. The guy stuck a 2 inch pipe in the ground before the basement slab was poured. He then added a cheap fan on the pipe inside the basement and stuck another 2" pipe through the wall. It stuck out 8". The fan was wired with an orange extension cord which was cut and attached to fan and plugged into an outlet 18 ft from it. ( No laws in NC) It had to be removed and a whole new system installed. What happened to the guy that installed it during construction? Nothing..........


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