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DES and Realtors Reach Agreement on Communicating Radon Risk

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New Hampshire environmental regulators and realtors have reached an agreement on how to communicate the risks associated with Radon in drinking water.

Materials and fact sheets available from the Department of Environmental Services previously recommended that homeowners “test the indoor air for radon and consult with radon mitigation and water treatment providers” whenever radon exceeds 2,000 picocuries per liter in well water, which was the lowest advisory level in the United States.

DES now advises homeowners to seek treatment if there are more than 10,000 picocuries of radon in their water, but still suggests that if levels are between 2,000 and 10,000 “the treatment of water may be advisable” depending on how much radon there is in the air.

“I think that this will give folks a clearer message for those who need a bright line a single number to focus on,” says Paul Susca, with the DES water bureau, “It will give them that number, 10,000. And for those who have the time to understand a more nuanced message we still have that 2,000 to 10,000 range.”

The New Hampshire Association of Realtors, which pushed for the change in the DES’ advisory level, released a statement lauding the deal, which they say brings New Hampshire in line with neighboring states as well as the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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