Air Pollution:

Hazards of Indoor Radon Could Pose a National Health Problem

RCED-86-170: Published: Jun 30, 1986. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1986.

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GAO provided information on the public's exposure to and the health effects of radon gas, cost and alternatives for reducing indoor radon levels, and federal efforts and statutory authorities and responsibilities to address indoor radon problems.

GAO found that: (1) the incidence of lung cancer is higher among underground miners exposed to high levels of radon; (2) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control believe exposure to radon increases the risk of lung cancer; (3) EPA expects to have results by 1989 from a national survey on the extent of radon exposure; (4) EPA is studying three techniques designed to reduce radon levels; (5) the cost per home to reduce radon levels ranges from $4,300 to $15,700; (6) EPA and the Department of Energy are conducting research on strategies for addressing radon issues; (7) federal agencies differ on the level of radon at which homeowners should take corrective action; (8) EPA does not have the statutory authority to regulate indoor air pollutants; and (9) other federal laws that provide for cleanup and assistance in the event of natural disasters do not assign responsibility for naturally occurring indoor radon hazards.

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