States Pursue Radon Limits in Drinking Water as EPA Action Lags

States are taking the lead with studying levels of radon in drinking water and air even as federal regulators lag, as a coincidence of geology and population density leaves some more at risk than others of suffering from the naturally occurring radioactive toxin.

Nine states have guidelines for radon in drinking water, with New Jersey considering the most stringent levels, fourfold tighter than a limit proposed but never mandated by U.S. EPA in 1999.

Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts and Wisconsin are the other states that have some guidance levels for the chemical, said Ted Campbell, a hydrogeologist with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and chairman of a committee tasked with recommending its own levels.

But most of the recommendations are at levels scientists say are insufficient to protect human health.

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