Ryan A. Denu, PhD; Jessica Maloney; Carrie D. Tomasallo, PhD, MPH; Noah M. Jacobs; John K. Krebsbach; Amber L. Schmaling; Enio Perez, MPH; Andrew J. Bersch, MS; Tamara J. LeCaire, PhD; Jonathan G. Meiman, MD; Kristen M. Malecki, PhD, MPH; Noelle K. LoConte, MD
Introduction: Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, and is estimated to cause 21,000 deaths every year. Radon is especially prevalent in the upper Midwest. This study aimed to assess radon testing and mitigation practices among residential homeowners, landlords, and school districts in Wisconsin.
Methods: Two survey sample datasets were used to assess radon testing and mitigation in residential homes: the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW) and Wisconsin Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. Wisconsin landlords and school administrators were surveyed to assess radon testing and mitigation in rental properties and schools, respectively.
Results: Approximately 30% of Wisconsin homeowners (22.1% from SHOW and 39.9% from BRFSS) have tested their properties for radon. Similarly, 31.0% of Wisconsin landlords (40/129) and 35.1% of Wisconsin school districts (78/222) have tested their schools for radon. Of homeowners with elevated radon, about 60% mitigated. School districts whose radon levels tested high most commonly did not mitigate, with costs and/or lack of funding cited as the most common barrier.
Discussion/Conclusion: Radon testing and mitigation practices are inadequate in Wisconsin, and future work will seek to determine the best methods to increase testing and mitigation and reduce radon-induced lung cancer deaths in Wisconsin.