Radon Courses for Professionals
Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas that can present a serious health hazard. This gas is released through the natural decay of thorium and uranium, which are common, naturally occurring elements found, in varying amounts, in rock, soil, and water across the United States. As radon gas decays it releases small bursts of energy that can damage lung tissue. According to the National Academy of Science's Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VI Report: "The Health Effects of Exposure to Indoor Radon," radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and is a serious public health problem. This report, published in February 1998, is the most definitive accumulation of scientific data on indoor radon. The study fully supports U.S. EPA estimates that radon causes about 14,000 lung cancer deaths per year.
As a means of prevention, EPA and the Office of the Surgeon General recommend that all homes below the third floor be tested for radon. Because radon is invisible and odorless, a simple test is the only way to determine if a home has high radon levels. The EPA recommends mitigating homes with high radon levels with the straightforward reduction techniques that will work in virtually every home.
In 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revised its risk assessment for radon in homes (Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes, June 2003, EPA -402-R-03 -0003). Highlights of the new risk assessment include:
- 21,300 lung cancer deaths per year are due to radon exposure in the home
- 18,400 of these deaths are among those who have smoked (12% of all smokers who die from lung cancer)
- 2,900 of these deaths are among those who have never smoked (26% of all nonsmokers who die from lung cancer)
About the Program
The Midwest Universities Radon Consortium (MURC) is one of four U.S. EPA established Regional Radon Training Centers (RRTCs) founded in 1988. The mission of the RRTCs is to provide training to public officials, nonprofit and private firms, and the public regarding the health risks posed by radon and to demonstrate methods of radon measurement and mitigation in residential, educational, and other environments. MURC collaborates with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states, partner RRTCs, industry, National Radon Safety Board (NRSB), and the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) to create a network of programs and outreach materials for our clients and to offer the highest quality training in radon measurement, mitigation, and indoor air quality.
MURC is located at and managed by the University of Minnesota. Courses are offered in Canada, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Kansas State University is a member of MURC and offers courses in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
Midwest Universities Radon Consortium
Founded in cooperation with:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency