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Legal Tools to Reduce Radon’s Risk: An Evaluation of Mandatory Radon-Resistant New Construction in Building Codes

December 2018

Citation: 48 ELR 11063

Issue: 12

Author: William C. Bellamy and Paul A. Locke

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), residential exposure to radon gas represents the second-leading cause of lung cancer among smokers and the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers in the United States. To reduce the lung cancer risk associated with inhaling radon, EPA, and almost all states, have created programs to protect the public. Among other things, federal and state programs recommend that all existing homes be tested for radon and that homes found to have high levels undergo mitigation. Many programs also recommend that new homes incorporate radon-resistant new construction techniques, which include depressurization systems and sealants to prevent the entry of radon from the underlying soil. This Comment evaluates the lung cancer risk reduction potential of one legal tool, a radon-resistant new construction ordinance.

William C. Bellamy is a Research Assistant and Paul A. Locke is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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