Reassessing Radon in Drinking Water: Searching for Perspective on Radiation Risks
Although most of the exposures to radon and its radioactive decay products arise from indoor airborne radon originating in the soil adjacent to buildings, some contact with radon can occur due to its presence in drinking water. The exposures and health risks associated with radon dissolved in drinking water are typically much smaller, although the magnitude of the exposures and risks have been uncertain and the subject of some controversy. The 1996 Amendments to the (U.S.) Safe Drinking Water Act required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to contract with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to re-evaluate the risks associated with radon in drinking water and to evaluate alternative means of reducing exposures to radon and its decay products in indoor air. This talk summarizes the risk assessment conducted by the NAS and describes the committees findings regarding alternative approaches to reducing radon-related risks that might be employed by water utilities.
Affiliate, Indoor Environment Group, Sustainable Energy & Environmental Systems Department, Energy Analysis & Environmental Impacts Division