The IAEA is launching a new series of online seminars for professionals and others interested in tackling problems associated with naturally occurring radon, especially since it is the second most common cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon is a colourless, odourless and tasteless radioactive gas that forms a significant part of many people’s total exposure of ionizing radiation. In most cases, high levels of radon may be reduced using technical measures.
The webinars will feature sessions on topics such as sharing information about radon exposure, possible remediation techniques and building materials and mapping of radon. The series has been created in cooperation with international and national organizations including the European Radon Association, the U.S. Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The first seminar, to be held on 5 April 2018, will highlight exposure to radon in homes. The one-hour session, co-organized with the CRCPD, will be led by Phillip Ray Gibson, who coordinates the Radon Program for the U.S. state of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services’ Radiation Protection Program.
“I will present a successful case study of a partnership between a state governmental entity, that regulates the state’s licensure program for real estate brokers, and private sector entities,” he said. “Such partnerships lead to better communication on exposure to radon, enabling buyers and sellers to make informed decisions.”
An IAEA expert Richelle Tolton from the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security said participants in the first seminar would learn how to deliver appropriate messages on exposure to radon and its remediation in line with the IAEA General Safety Requirements Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources (GSR Part 3). This IAEA safety standard requires governments to provide information on levels of radon indoors and associated health risks, and, if appropriate, to act to control the public exposure to it.
The webinars mainly target radon practitioners in national or local government, health care or building-related professions, but anyone interested may take part. Each session includes a discussion during which participants in the live broadcast may ask questions. Recordings of each seminar will be available after the live webinar here.
Radon in the spotlight
Radon is found in nature and can seep into buildings and homes. It can accumulate indoors, leading to high radon levels in some cases. Combined with a lack of awareness about corrective actions available, this often makes radon a significant source of radiation exposure throughout people’s lifetime. According to the WHO, long-term exposure to radon contributes between 3 to 14 percent of lung cancers worldwide.
In addition to the webinars, IAEA offers national and regional workshops and training courses to help countries to address exposure to radon. The IAEA Specific Safety Guide Protection of the Public against Exposure Indoors due to Radon and Other Natural Sources of Radiation and a flowchart may be used by countries in developing their radon action plans, and Member States also may request that the IAEA provide technical support as appropriate.