The UK Radon Association were invited to host a one-day workshop as part of the recent International NORM & Natural Radiation Management Conference, held in London.
The workshop was attended by delegates from the UK as well as countries including Canada, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Martin Freeman, Chairman of UK Radon Association welcomed the delegates and delivered a keynote address, which included details from the recently published HSE statistics report. Analysis of the statistics by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) revealed that “We’ve put safety first at the expense of health” in recent years. The report continued “It is much easier to visualise falling of a ladder than it is to visualise the harm caused by exposure to gases and vapours”. It is hoped that this will generate renewed emphasis upon the need to conduct workplace radon risk assessments.
Rebecca Coates of UK Radon Association member company propertECO gave attendees a general overview about radon issues and how the risks can best be communicated amongst different stakeholder groups.
UK Radon Association Vice Chair Dr Maria Hansen (of TASL) spoke about the health effects of radon exposure and the various methods of testing for radon, including the use of passive monitors, continuous monitors and grab sampling.
Legislation regarding occupational exposure was discussed by David Lenden of RPmatters. David also detailed the requirements laid out in the new EURATOM Basic Safety Standards, which will see all European member states producing a ‘national radon action plan’ by February 2018, as well as possible alterations to the reference levels.
Two members of the UK Radon Association travelled to Charleston, South Carolina in September for the International Radon Symposium 2014. The annual Symposium is organised by AARST (American Association for Radon Scientists and Technologists) and this year attracted record numbers of attendees from industry, State and Government organisations, NGOs, research institutions and cancer charities.
Martin Freeman, Chairman of the UK Radon Association had been invited to present his paper discussing the conflict between basement waterproofing techniques used in the UK and radon management. This paper is due to be published shortly and a link to download it will be added to the blog when available.
The Keynote address was given by Janet McCabe, Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and was followed by an impassioned talk by Janice Nolen, Assistant Vice President of the American Lung Association about tackling the number of avoidable lung cancer cases caused by radon exposure each year. Both Ms McCabe and Ms Nolen were interested to hear about the UK Radon Association and extended their wishes of support to the organisation.
The three-day conference featured a packed schedule of talks from international speakers covering everything from radon testing protocol in multi-family units (apartments) to policies for radon resistant new construction (RRNC), methods of risk communication with different stakeholders to frameworks for ensuring quality installations by radon professionals.
AARST were extremely welcoming and were keen to encourage more international links. Radon is a worldwide issue and there is much that can be learnt and shared globally.
The Symposium also saw CanSAR (Cancer Survivors Against Radon) participating in the #WhipLungCancer campaign. Following the global success of the ‘ice bucket challenge’ earlier in the year, various lung cancer charities joined together to promote this campaign, which sees volunteers receiving a whipped-cream pie to the face in exchange for donations from family & friends. Well done to all those involved, including AARST Executive Director Peter Hendrick!