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RADON AWARENESS AND MITIGATION IN VERMONT: A PUBLIC HEALTH SURVEY

Riesenfeld, Erik P.*; Marcy, Theodore W.*†; Reinier, Kyndaron; Mongeon, Joan A.; Trumbo, Craig W.§; Wemple, Brian E.; Kaminsky, David A.*

doi: 10.1097/01.HP.0000254862.50407.4a
Paper

Radon exposure is associated with an increased incidence of lung cancer, and elevated levels may be found in as many as 1 out of 15 homes. The U.S. EPA recommends testing homes for radon and mitigating over the advisory level of 4 picocuries per liter (4 pCi L−1, or 148 Bq m−3). A sample population from a list of Vermont residents who had tested their residence for radon through the Vermont Department of Health and who had elevated levels were mailed a survey to assess demographic characteristics, knowledge about radon, mitigation rates, types of mitigation, as well as barriers to mitigation. The response rate was 63%. Forty-three percent of respondents mitigated. Roughly half were not completely knowledgeable of radon based upon the ability to associate radon exposure with lung cancer risk. Reasons not to mitigate radon levels in homes were cost and lack of concern over elevated levels. A multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed factors associated with mitigating: an education level of college or higher (p = 0.02), concern that a high radon level would affect real estate value (p = 0.04), and home age less than 10 y (p = 0.05). In summary, less than half of Vermonters with elevated radon levels participating in the Department of Health program mitigated. We identify factors associated with radon mitigation that may lead to improved radon education and mitigation practice.

* Department of Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Unit, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Fletcher Allen Health Care, 111 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401; † Vermont Department of Health, 108 Cherry Street, Burlington, VT 05401; ‡ Bioinformatics Facility, University of Vermont College of Medicine, 27 Hills Building, Burlington, VT 05405; § Office of Health Promotion Research, University of Vermont College of Medicine, 1 South Prospect Street, Room 4426, Burlington, VT 05401.

For correspondence contact: Erik Riesenfeld, Department of Medicine, University of Vermont, Fletcher Allen Health Care, 111 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401, or email at Erik.Riesenfeld@vtmednet.org.

(Manuscript accepted 2 November 2006)

©2007Health Physics Society