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Radon Policy is a national disgrace

Briefly Speaking -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- An e-newsletter for the membership of AARST and the American Radon Policy Coalition. June 15, 2003 Vol. II – Issue 7. If you received this by mistake or no longer wish to receive this newsletter, please reply with the word “Unsubscribe” in the subject line. Our Mailing List is by Membership and Special Request Only... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This issue is packed with important news for radon professionals. Please read the entire issue and pass it on. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dateline Washington, D.C. – June 4th and 5th, 2003 - A Whole Lotta Radon Going On in June! The AARST Board met in the Washington, D.C. area on June 4th. The main topic of discussion was radon and public policy. The Board recognizes that 15 years after the passage of the 1988 Radon Abatement Act, our public policy regarding radon in the United States is weak and ineffective. The Board has become extremely proactive in speaking out on the matter. Congressman Rob Simmons Legislative Aide Jonathan Martin briefed the board on the Raid on Radon Tax Credit Relief Act of 2003, which AARST is supporting. By the US EPA’s own estimates 22,000 people a year die from radon, the silent killer. Why is it that this Class A Carcinogen is unregulated? Is a little bit of arsenic good for you? Radon is radioactive. It kills. Simple enough, so one would think. So why is it that the regulations in place regulate the people trying to solve the problem, while there is not one effectiveregulation in these United States in place to actively motivate the finding and fixing of 10 Million homes and 38 Million People at risk? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Radon Policy is a national disgrace. During the Board Meeting, recent initiatives by the American Radon Policy Coalition and AARST’s President were reviewed. AARST President David Hill recently wrote to EPA Administrator Christine Whitman asking that the Administrator do what Congress requires the EPA to do: Solve the nation's radon problem by: 1) initiating an action level standard for indoor radon exposure, 2) promulgate the long overdue waterborne radon rules and, 3) help solve HUD’s non-compliance with NEPA and the Indoor Radon Abatement Act. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SPEAKING OF HUD – A Dirty Little Secret That Everyone Should Know... Since last August, the American Radon Policy Coalition, which includes AARST, the American Lung Association, ASHI, NAHI, NEHA’s NRPP, and other groups, has been asking for a meeting with HUD concerning their lack of radon policy. Unfortunately, despite promises, a HUD Meeting for the first week of June never materialized. HUD also failed to properly answer a recent Freedom of Information Act request by a law firm out of Georgia. WHAT IS HUD HIDING? The Secret is: Could it be that their Multi-family Building Protocol is the reason? The document that the US EPA produced for HUD and that HUD then hid from public review and comment for over 8 years? Is this an embarrassment for both the EPA and HUD? No, you see HUD does not believe it is to be held accountable. But HUD will be held to account by AARST and ARPC members. And, more important, the victims in the safe housing that HUD was suppose to supply to the nation are going to hold them to account. We're going to empower these people to speak for themselves...HUD's 1949 mandate was to supply housing that is safe and healthy. Have they done so? How many years has the nation looked to the government for leadership on this issue? How many years has this information been kept from us? Even at the lowest mortality estimates... 8 years equates to over 100,000 deaths. Talk about Environmental In-Justice! We guess that radon testing is just for those who can afford it. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- WHAT DOES AARST DO? 6 simple words We work to prevent lung cancer. 3 words We save lives. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SPEAKING OF GOVERNMENT NOT KNOWING WHAT IT IS DOING. Let's look at THE BELLE GROUP. They conduct an annual symposium on "Non-Linear Risk Theory" out of the University of Massachusetts' Dept. of Public Health (Amherst, Mass.) They recently became the subject of inquiry by a number of reporters (FORBES and FORTUNE magazines) with the theme in FORTUNE magazine going "a little bit of toxic exposure and radiation may be good for you." Seriously, this research line is being promoted by someone's slick public relations firm. According to the web site of the Belle Group: Mobile/Exxon, R.J. Reynolds, Texaco, Dow Corning, Honeywell, NIEHS and the US Dept. of Energy and the US EPA are sponsors. (That's information taken from their own, bellonline.com web site!) You think time can’t go backwards? That radon policy can't get any worse? What if Someone Had A Plan to Soften the Current Rules...Read the first line of the article by David Stipp in Fortune Magazine (June 9,2003) on page 54. This media effort seems to be part of an orchestrated campaign, folks. Seriously, it looks like a well funded campaign designed to reverse environmental progress and to reduce environmental liability for certain powerful corporations. We're radon is not specifically in the cross-hairs, we are in the target zone. It's not the intent of the research that's objectionable, it's the spin put on the research. Sadly, radon policy is in danger of getting caught up in this mess sooner rather than later. We have to present our own science and we have to begin speaking out "With One Voice." Saving Lives is what it's all about. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SPEAKING OF HUD – The Fine Art of Government Double Speak...in 2003 HUD seems to think they have complied completely with the McKinney Amendments, that they have no more obligations under the Indoor Radon Abatement Act. If this is true, why is it that HUD has tested only a minuscule portion of their own housing units? And if radon isn't a problem: Why did they have the foresight to test all of their own offices nationwide? Have they read the McKinney Amendments? Have they read the 1988 Indoor Radon Abatement Act? Do they know what lung cancer is? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FLASH -- LATE BREAKING NEWS - THIS JUST IN -- HUD AGREES TO A RADON MEETING WITH AARST - ARPC... Finally, it seems Progress is Being Made...We can hope. We just received a phone call on this. AARST Vice President Carolyn Allen has been working with her professional counterparts in Alabama on the HUD question. Through a meeting she had last week with a staff member of the US Senate Banking Committee in Washington, she and others at AARST have secured a meeting for the American Radon Policy Coalition within the next thirty days! A lot of work went into setting this meeting up and credit goes to Carolyn, Dallas Jones, the American Lung Association and several other volunteers trhoughout the country who have worked diligently to brief Congressional staff members on the radon issue. Remember: The solution required here requires leadership. The nation does not need massive amounts of money or new programs, but we do need compliance with the current laws on the books. The EPA and HUD can provide that leadership. Is the issue settled? Not at all. But it's a true start -- and credit goes to the leadership at the Senate Banking Committee and the ability of Congress to assist the public on issues. We believe we now have the ability to see if a reasonable dialogue can be set up with HUD to begin initiating their leadership role in the FIGHT AGAINST LUNG CANCER. We expect they can do as well as the US Military on this issue. What if the meeting is a dead end? We have professionals working on the issue: regulatory, legal, scientific and government affairs experts - and we will make sure to press our point home: Saving Lives is what it's all about. We work to prevent Lung Cancer. This is not the old AARST. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AARST’s RADON OUTREACH PROJECT for Lung Cancer Patients and Physicians... AARST is working on a new outreach program designed by Dallas Jones to educate lung cancer patients, oncologists and other medical professionals about the dangers and health risks associated with radon. AARST COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED for P-3 INITIATIVE AARST PRESIDENT Dave Hill is establishing a Public Private Partnership Committee, to work on P-3 initiatives. To present at the 2003 Symposium. AARST BOARD WENT TO CONGRESS On June 5th, AARST Board Members visited with members of Congress to discuss radon policy, HUD inaction and new incentives for Radon. Stay tuned for developments because our visits sparked strong bipartisan interest and support in the subject. SPECIAL BUSINESS SEMINARS FOR MEMBERS AT 2003 SYMPOSIUM Winner Circle Seminars, developed by Membership Chair Tom Heine and VP Carolyn Allen will be held throughout this year’s 2003 International Radon Symposium. These will be designed to help improve members business and marketing skills! Membership and marketing kits, how to improve public relations and boost profitability for both measurement and mitigation professionals. More details to follow! Do you want to grow your business – Don't miss this year’s Symposium in Nashville, TN. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AT WHAT RATE SHOULD THE RADON INDUSTRY BEING GROWING ? To find and fix 10 Million Homes: We need to see a 12-15% Annual Growth Rate. Current Growth Rate: 0 That's right, Zip! ZERO! Our Mitigation Success Rate for Residential Housing is a Negative Percentile Because We Build Radon Homes Faster Than We Can Find and Fix Them... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AARST OFFICIALS MEET WITH EPA's RADON TEAM Dave Hill, Carolyn Allen and Alan Zucchino met with the USEPA Radon Team, exchanging viewpoints and objectives regarding national radon policy. Indoor Air Division Chief Elizabeth Cotsworth remains committed to the EPA’s Outreach programs and we appreciate her team's interest and support. The EPA, however, says it is in a non regulatory mode and feels outreach is the best way to approach the problem. AARST, meanwhile, is committed to finding additional resources and is continuing to press for the setting of standards and for regulations that will find and fix those 10 million homes long before 3001 roles around. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HABITAT FOR HUMANITY PROJECT On Monday, June 9th, over 2000 volunteers for Habitat for Humanity began installing active radon reduction systems in 35 homes in Anniston, Alabama. This project was supervised by AARST volunteers with donations of time, materials and expertise from AARST members as well as members of Alabama's Radon Program. By sundown on June 12th, the sod was going down and the finishing touches on the trim and the radon systems were 95% completed on the 35 homes. This project is part of Habitat for Humanity's 2003 Jimmy Carter Work Project in which the former President and his wife Rosalyn directly participate. Deborah Matthews, Regional Coordinator for the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, the organization that runs the Alabama Radon Program for the Alabama Department of Public Health, has educated 35 families about radon and radon reduction techniques so they may participate in the construction of their healthy new homes. Professionally credentialed volunteers from AARST, the Southern Regional Radon Training Center at Auburn University, and the Alabama Radon Program supervised the installation of the radon reduction systems. Anniston is located in Calhoun County, Alabama, which is marked as a Zone 1 County on the US EPA’s map of radon zones. This indicates that it has the highest potential for elevated radon concentrations in buildings. Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless radioactive gas. The US EPA states that radon gas is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer responsible for 22,000 deaths annually in the US. Active radon reduction systems have been shown to economically reduce the health risk associated with radon gas in homes. In addition, Janet McEilvaine, a research analyst for the Florida Solar Energy Center, will study the positive effects of active radon reduction systems for the control of moisture, molds and mildew in homes. Ms. McEilvaine will conduct a follow-up study to monitor moisture in the Anniston homes. AARST is a non-profit professional association whose local coordinators for the Habitat for Humanity project included Sabrina Lyle, Dallas Jones and Terry and Beverly Howell. AARST Vice President John Mallon drove all the way from Pittsburgh to work on the project. This project is a great role model for the nation! We encourage all AARST Chapters to work on duplicating this type of effort. ( Too bad HUD doesn't do work like this! But you know something, we have faith they will make the effort!) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AARST and ARPC SENT A NEWS FILM CREW TO ALABAMA... That's right. A film production crew. We had a film crew in Alabama all of this past week. They were filming not only the Habitat for Humanity Project but they were also interviewing doctors and lung cancer victims (read lung caner victims who were “Never Smokers”). These interviews will finally tell a different side of the radon story. And this time those really involved with the health risk will be speaking out. Not professionals but lung cancer victims. What's it like to loose a lung to cancer? To have never smoked and to have lived in a house that exceeds the EPA's recommended action level by 400% ? What's it like to inform patients that they have lung cancer (with a 10% percent survival rate over 2 years) and realize they never smoked and know that they live in a high radon county and never knew it? Find Out Soon! WHY DID WE DO THIS? Because someone needs to frame the radon policy question in terms of the terrible impact radon has on real living people. People who are very sick with lung cancer will be the real advocates and voice for radon reform! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MEMBERSHIP DRIVE: Here's what AARST does for you. Won't you support us? Your membership helps with advocacy aimed at making radon laws and policies that get the job done right! Saving Lives. Fighting Lung Cancer. That's what we're about... Membership support enables AARST to continue in its efforts to increase opportunities for radon testing, mitigation and research. Summary of additional membership benefits: Discounted participation at the annual International Radon Symposium Representation on issues involving public policy, radon and radon practices A voice in developing updated radon industry standards The AARST quarterly publication, Radon Reporter The monthly e-newsletter, Briefly Speaking, which updates members on breaking developments in the world of radon and consumer protection Access to the assistance of Public Policy Key Leaders, key technologists and renowned scientists who are AARST members Local Chapters, which provide a vital forum for education and the exchange of information Online access to the Members Only section of the AARST website, www.aarst.org, for insider information to the latest radon-related research and information, including the ability to download selected articles and presentations from the International Radon Symposium, discounted consumer literature and reprints of EPA publications MEMBERSHIP FORM: Join Us Today - It's easy - Just mail the following in to us with your check: Name: ___________________________________ Company: _____________________________________ Address: __________________________ City: ______________ State: ____ Zip: ______ Country: _______ Email: ___________________________________ Website: ______________________________________ Telephone: _______________________________ Fax: __________________________________________ Affiliate Information: NRSB __ NEHA__ ASHI__ NAHI __ AARST Annual Membership (Check category of membership desired.): Individual $125 Associate $75 Student $35 (Attach copy of current student ID.) Company $250 (2 members) Corporate $500 – (up to 5 members); Executive $1,000 (up to 10 members): _________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ Services offered: _________________________________________________________________________ Certifications: ___________________________________________________________________________ I agree to abide by the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists Code of Ethics. Signature: _______________________________________________ Date: _________________________ Please make checks payable to AARST and mail to: AARST c/o QBSI, 929 Mt. Zion Rd. Lebanon, PA 17046 Or: fax with credit card information to (717) 274-9512. VISA Exp. Date__________________ MasterCard Exp. 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