Quality assurance often incorporates each step of a product’s lifecycle to instill quality, with a clear quality assurance plan to guide the way. This is critical when limiting defects and preventing errors. To assure quality assurance practices in radon measurement, the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) has developed a new American National Standard, ANSI/AARST MS-QA-2019: Radon Measurement Systems Quality Assurance.
Why is Radon Dangerous?
Radon causes 21,000 deaths from lung cancer each year in the United States—making it the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. It is invisible and odorless and can build up inside any structure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Surgeon General recommend fixing homes with radon levels at or above 4 pCi/L. Unfortunately, the only way to comprehend the presence of radon in a home or other building is to test for it.
Numerous standards address the best practices for testing for radon in various types of structures. For example, ANSI/AARST MAH-2019 standardizes radon measurements in homes. However, ANSI/AARST MAH-2019 does not address quality assurance.
Quality Assurance for Radon Measurement Systems
ANSI/AARST MS-QA-2019 specifies quality systems designed to quantify the concentration of radioactive radon gas. This standard is not meant to be used by homeowners and other non-trained individuals, but by qualified professionals and laboratories. The data produced by these professionals can determine the need for radon mitigation.
Since ANSI/AARST MS-QA-2019 can be used in residential environments and buildings not associated with the handling of radioactive materials, it is applicable to a wide variety of radon measurement devices. Because of this, the standard covers quality control guidelines that apply to continuous radon monitors (CRMs), charcoal adsorption devices (gamma spectrometry and liquid scintillation methods), various field operations methods, and alpha track detector (ATD) methods, among numerous other pertinent topics.
Furthermore, ANSI/AARST MS-QA-2019 outlines procedures to include in a radon measurement quality assurance plan with quality checks. Users should note that this American National Standard builds upon national and international standards for conducting measurements of radioactive materials, including the ISO 11665 series focused on measuring radon in air, numerous ASTM International standard practices (such as ASTM D3648-14), and guidance from the EPA and other U.S. government agencies.
The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST)
In the 1950s, radon-induced lung cancer was connected with workers in underground mines. Thirty years later, studies further found that exposure to radon in the home can exceed exposure found for mine workers, which resulted in the Indoor Radon Abatement Act of 1988.
This same year, the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) was established. As an ANSI-accredited standards developing organization (SDO), AARST develops standards for measuring and mitigating radon in homes, schools and large buildings, and multifamily buildings. You can read more about other AARST Standards here.
ANSI/AARST MS-QA-2019: Radon Measurement Systems Quality Assurance is available on the ANSI Webstore.