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Iowa ranked No. 1 in radon survey.

Iowa ranked No. 1 in radon survey

In Iowa, 71 percent of homes tested for radon early this year contained more than 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/I) of the natural radioactive pollutant--a level that warrants corrective action, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which conducted the survey. EPA identified 10 Iowa counties with indoor radon levels ranging from 47 to 130 pCi/I. In facT, Iowa's radon problem appears more pervasive than that of any other state, EPA says. But Iowa's peak was not the highest recorded in this survey of eight states and several Indian lands. Researchers found indoor radon at levels more than double Iowa's peak in Ohio and at an Indian reservation in South Dakota.

EPA has measured radon exceeding 4 pCi/I in roughly one out of every four homes screened over the past three years--surveys representing half the nation. However, it conducts its assays under conditions aimed at identifying peak concentrations, not annual averages. Taking this into account, EPA Administrator William K. Reilly says, "We now estimate that 10 percent of all the homes in the United States have an annual average radon level of more than 4 pCi/I."

Although the federal government last year issued a highly publicized "radon health advisory" recommending immediate testing of all homes (SN: 9/24/88, p. 206), only about 2 percent of U.S. households have undertaken such tests, Reilly says. Moreover, a survey conducted for the New York City-based Advertising Council Inc. found that while 67 percent of those polled recognized radon as a health risk, only 11 percent expected to test their homes for it in the coming year. To encourage testing, EPA solicited the nonprofit Advertising Council to develop a public service campaign. In mid-November, its ads should begin hammering home EPA's message that radon is a deadly carcinogen but testing is inexpensive, and even homes with high levels can be fixed.
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Title Annotation:in homes
Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 11, 1989
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