University of Vermont

Office of Health Promotion Research

OHPR Abstract 293

Abstract 2000-2008

Riesenfeld EP, Marcy TW, Reinier K, Mongeon JA, Trumbo CW, Wemple BE, Kaminsky DA. Radon awareness and mitigation in Vermont: a public health survey. Health Phys. 2007 May;92(5):425-31.

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.

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