United States
                Environmental Protection
                                               Information Resources
EPA/220/N-93-029 */
Sept./Oct. 1993
 From the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air

  WHO Working Group on Indoor Air

 The World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group
 Meeting on Indoor Air  Quality:   A Risk-based Ap-
 proach to Health Criteria for Radon Indoors, con-
 vened in Eilat, Israel March 28 - April 4,1993 to assess
 the significance of health risks associated with indoor
 radon exposure in order to develop risk management
 policies and strategies based on health criteria. Advisors
 from eleven European countries, China, Israel, and the
 United States were invited to participate. US participants,
 serving as temporary WHO advisors, included Margo T.
 Oge, Directorof EPA's Office of Radiation and Indoor Air
 (ORIA), William H. Farland,  Director of EPA's Office of
  ealth and Environmental  Assessment,  and Dennis
  'agner and Susan Conrath of ORIA's Radon Division.
  epresentatives from the International Agency for Re-
 earch on Cancer and the  WHO  Regional Office  for
 Europe also attended. The Group addressed three main
 issues: health risks, risk management, and risk commu-

 In the area of health risks:
 The Group confirmed the human carcinogenicity of radon
 and its status as an important public health  problem.
 They reaffirmed the reasonable natureof the linear model
 for extrapolation of risk from miners to residential popu-
 lations, and the fact that  the uncertainties  in radon risk
 assessment modelling are fewer than those associated
 with many other environmental carcinogens. They rec-
 ommended use of the modified BEIR IV model for risk
 assessment and guideline/standard setting.  The advi-
 sors also determined that smokers are at a higher total
 risk from radon exposure than nonsmokers since the
 combined risk of smoking and radon exposure is more
than additive and no conclusive evidence exists associ-
 ating radon with any health effect other than lung cancer.

The participants recommended proceeding with the pooled
 analysis of both miner and indoor radon studies, as well
 as addressing the magnitude of risk to nonsmokers and
the  interaction between radon exposure and smoking.
They also recommended that future epidemiologicalcase-
                                             control studies aimed at quantifying precisely the effect of
                                             residential radon exposure should be conducted.  The
                                             studies should control for significant variables, especially
                                             tobacco smoking. They encouraged laboratory
                                             investigations of the molecular and cellular effects of
                                             alpha-emitters in general and radon in particular, the
                                             elucidations of carcinogenic mechanisms of radon, and
                                             the construction of biologically-based models.

                                             In the area of risk management:
                                             The participants concluded that the tools for controlling
                                             the risk from indoor radon are not being extensively used
                                             and considerable effort is needed to create a proper basis
                                             for dealing with  this task.  They noted that different
                                             authorities are in charge of the management of radon risk
                                             in different countries since this management involves
                                             questions of both radiation  protection and indoor air
                                             health concerns.

                                             They recommended that a comprehensive national radon
                                             policy, integrating risk assessment, measurement proto-
                                             cols, contractor training, mitigation, and a built-in evalua-
                                             tion program be developed in a step-by-step manner to

                                                   identification of potential sources of  elevated
                                                   identification of populations at highest risk
                                                   identification of situations with the potential for
                                                   increased exposure
                                                   development of a risk management strategy

                                             The WHO advisors also recommended the avoidance of
                                             construction  materials which could be a source of radon,
                                             the development of  building codes and guidelines for
                                             radon-affected areas, and the extension of the risk reduc-
                                             tion strategy to schools, workplaces and public buildings,
                                             as well as homes.  The Group addressed the issue of
                                             stressing risk reduction strategies for high-risk individuals
                                             while simultaneously addressing risk reduction for the
                                             population at large.  They endorsed the  integration of
                                             future radon  policy into a global risk management strat-
                                             egy, for which various policy tools are developed in a
                                             consistent way.
                                             In the area of risk communication:
                                             The Group agreed that a productive risk communication
                                             policy involves testing alternative messages with
INFOTERRA/USA National  Focal Point
                                                                            (continued on back)
                                                 Printed with Soy/Canola Ink on paper that
                                                 contains at least 5O% recycled fiber

(continued from front)
appropriate audiences to ensure that such messages are
clear, accurate, and effective.  Such communication
efforts should identify target audiences, enlist sources
respected  by the target audiences and make use  of
communications channels available to these sources.

The Group's goal for radon risk communication is the
provision of  accurate scientific information to reduce
radon health risks.  They recommended that countries
collect baseline information on existing attitudes and
perceptions about radon before initiating a risk communi-
cation program. The linking of communication efforts to
key issues, such as the availability of qualified testing
services and contractors, and the continuous evaluation
and improvement of the risk communication program,
were also recommended.  International sharing of radon
risk communication information was encouraged.
                  --Submitted by
         Susan Conrath (Radon Division, ORIA)
                  (202) 233-9397
                  New Books

   The following books may be checked out from the
   International Collection at the Headquarters Library:

   Building Sustainable Communities - Water Qual-
   ity:  Protection and  Remediation.  The  Global
   Cities Project.  1991.  TD365.W381.1991.

   Caribbean Ecology and Economics. Caribbean
   Conservation Association. 1991.

   Environment and Development in Latin America
   and the Caribbean: The Role of the World Bank.
   The World Bank. 1992, HC123.D59.1992,

   The Greening of World Trade.  [A Report to EPA].
   The Trade and Environment Committee of the
   National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy
   and Technology. 1993. EPA/100/R-93-002.
  The Impact of Ozone-Layer Depletion.
  GEMS. 1992.  TD885.5.O85I47.1992.
   Marine  Mammals.
UNEP.    May  1985.
         Journal Articles of Interest

"Changing the  Recipe."  [French Industry accepts its
environmental responsibilities]. Environmentrisk.
 (June 1993): pp.17-19.

Clements, J.W. and J.P. Thompson.  "Cleaner Produc-
tion: An Industrial Example."  [Study of a polyethylene
plant at Altona, Victoria, Australia.] Journal of Cleaner
Production. (1993). Vol.1 No.1: pp.15-19.

Forje, John W.  "Cultivating New Perspectives on Tropi-
cal  Forest Utilization  and Prospects for the  Future."
Environmental Education and Information.
(July-September 1992). Vol.11 No.3:  pp.181-190.

Jukofsky, Diane. "Can Marketing Save the Rainforest?"
E Magazine. (July/August 1993). Vol.4 No.4: pp.32-39.

Khordagui, Hosny and Dhari AI-Ajmi.  "Environmental
Impact of the Gulf War: An Integrated Preliminary
Assessment." Environmental Management.
(July/August 1993).  Vol.17 No.4: pp.557-562.

McCarthy, James E. "Recycling and Reducing Packag-
ing  Waste:  How the United States Compares to Other
Countries." Resources, Conservation and Recycling.
(April  1993).  Vol.8 No.3-4: pp.293-360.

Moberg, David. "Sunset for Chlorine?" [Chlorine
pollution in the Great Lakes.] E Magazine.
(July/August 1993).  Vol.4 No.4:  26-31.

Myers, N. "Biodiversity and the Precautionary Principle."
Ambio. (May 1993). Vol.22 No.2-3: pp.74-79.

Rose, Julian. "Croatia: Environmental Effects of War."
Environmental Science and Technology.
(June 1993). Vol.27No.6: pp.1010-1011.

Vernon,  Raymond.   "Behind  the  Scenes:   How
Policymaking in the European Community, Japan, and
the United States Affects Global Negotiations."
Environment.  (June 1993). Vol.35 No.5: pp.13-42.

EPA Staff may request copies of articles by sending
e-mail to library.lnfoterra,  calling (202)  260-5927, or
visiting INFOTERRA in the Headquarters Library.
Head Librarian
Carol Stiles
Reference Librarians
Elizabeth Behrendt
Robert Hulshof
Jill Mottorn


(202) 260-5927
(202) 260-3638

(202) 260-9357
INFOTERRA is contractor
operated and managed by
the Office of Information
Resources Management (OIRM),
Information Management and
Services Division (IMSD),
Information Sharing Branch.