Health Risks Due to Radon in Drinking Water
Following more than a decade of scientific debate about the setting of a standard for 222Rn in drinking water, Congress established a timetable for the promulgation of a standard in the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. As a result of those Amendments, the EPA contracted with the National Academy of Sciences to undertake a risk assessment for exposure to radon in drinking water. In addition, the resulting committee was asked to address several other scientific issues including the national average ambient 222Rn concentration and the increment of 222Rn to the indoor-air concentration arising from the use of drinking water in a home. A new dosimetric analysis of the cancer risk to the stomach from ingestion was performed. The recently reported risk estimates developed by the BEIR VI Committee for inhalation of radon decay products were adopted. Because the 1996 Amendments permit states to develop programs in which mitigation of air-producing health-risk reductions equivalent to that which would be achieved by treating the drinking water, the scientific issues involved in such "multimedia mitigation programs" were explored.