Improvements Needed in the Environmental Protection Agency's Testing Program for Radon Measurement Companies

T-RCED-90-81: Published: May 23, 1990. Publicly Released: May 23, 1990.

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GAO discussed: (1) the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Radon Measurement Proficiency Program (RMP); (2) changes needed in RMP to provide homeowners with greater assurance that radon measurements were accurate; and (3) state efforts to control radon measurement companies. GAO noted that: (1) to ensure that radon measurements are accurate, EPA should require measurement companies to demonstrate proficiency in testing for radon; (2) since 1986, EPA has assessed companies' competency in measuring radon on six occasions and nationally published its results; (3) the number of firms demonstrating proficiency through RMP has increased, but EPA and the public still cannot be assured that all companies meet proficiency standards or that measurement results are accurate; (4) EPA established a task force to assess changes needed in RMP and also developed a user fee proposal to cover RMP costs; (5) radon testing industry officials believed that EPA should require some quality assurance as a condition for state participation in RMP; (6) states' monitoring of radon measurement firms was limited and inconsistent; (7) only 9 states had programs that either certified, licensed, or accredited radon measurement companies, but only 5 states mandated their programs; (8) 22 state coordinators believed that their states would not use RMP, primarily because of a lack of funding, resources, and legislative authority; and (9) the task force proposed to develop a document describing a model state certification program.

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