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USAG Japan releases housing radon testing results

Date Published: 07/24/2020 [Source]

After testing 677 housing units for radon, U.S. Army Garrison Japan found only two occupied units with results slightly over the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended action level.

The EPA's recommended action level for radon concentration in homes is 4 picocuries per liter of air, and one occupied unit at Sagamihara Family Housing Area had a level of 4.4 pCi/L, and one occupied unit at Camp Kure Pier Six had a level of 8.9 pCi/L, said Phil Gust, chief of the USAG Japan's Environmental Division at the Directorate of Public Works.

Although the results also found five unoccupied units with elevated levels, the results overall show that radon is not a pervasive problem for USAG Japan residents throughout the island of Honshu, Gust said. In addition, they indicate that the housing units are properly ventilated.

USAG Japan officials plan to ensure the ventilation systems in all the units with elevated radon levels are working properly and then evaluate to see if personnel need to take further action, Gust said.

Corrective actions could include the inspection and repair of cracks in the foundation or concrete slab of the home, since that is typically where radon enters the home, Gust said.

Radon, a naturally occurring gas, is everywhere, and it increases the risk of lung cancer for those exposed to elevated amounts over many years.

"It is generated through natural radioactive decay in soils and rocks throughout the world," Gust said. "Certain areas of the world, depending on their geological constituents, have higher levels of naturally occurring radon than other areas."