Radon Courses Frequently Asked Questions

Course Questions

How can I find out more about your programs?
Review the course Web site. Our Web site has complete information about our courses, including course descriptions, upcoming course schedule, and online registration. If you still have a question after reviewing the information on our Web site, please call our course coordinator at: 1-785-532-6026.

 

Why do I want to take a radon measurement or mitigation course from MURC?
Because MURC is the most experienced radon training provider in the world, and we believe we give our students the best training possible. Our instructors are award winning leaders in the radon profession. MURC is one of the three original EPA founded Regional Radon Training Centers, and we value our long-standing relationship with EPA, states, and the radon industry.

We are University-based, and it is our only business to provide you with unbiased, research-based training that will give you the strongest tools for success in radon risk reduction. When you complete our courses, you receive a course completion certificate from an internationally respected University.

 

Are these courses nationally recognized?
Yes, the introductory radon measurement course and radon mitigation course (as well as instructors and training materials) are approved by the two certification programs: the AARST - National Radon Proficiency Program and the National Radon Safety Board. In addition, our courses have been approved for category one or category two continuing education credits by the AARST - National Radon Proficiency Program.

 

I have no experience in home inspection, public health, building construction, plumbing or heating; can I take your radon measurement or mitigation and pass the proficiency examination after the course(s)?
No matter what your background, there will be new information you need to master to pass the proficiency examination(s). Our courses are designed and our instructors are skilled to help prepare you to pass either the radon measurement or the radon mitigation examination. Nevertheless, we strongly encourage you to read a number of publications before you come to class. Study documents will be emailed upon registration for courses.

 

What should I do to prepare for taking your courses?
There are advance recommended reading assignments for both the radon measurement course and the radon mitigation course. We strongly encourage you to read these publications before you come to class. 
Study documents will be emailed upon registration for courses.

 

What do I need to bring to class?
You need to bring number two pencils and a simple calculator to class. Plan to dress casually and comfortably. You should be prepared to spend all day in class and thus, try to minimize expectations that you can monitor calls or text messages. In addition, if you are taking the mitigation course, you should plan to get dusty and dirty because you will be doing hands-on diagnostic training.

 

How many people attend these courses?
The course sizes commonly range anywhere from 5 to 25 students. This allows for a lot of interaction and personal attention from the instructor.

 

Do I need to take the measurement course before taking the mitigation course?
Yes, the radon measurement course is a prerequisite to the radon mitigation course. The material covered in the measurement course is important to understanding and succeeding in the mitigation course.

 

Can I take the measurement course now and the mitigation course at a later time?
Yes. However, if you wait to take the mitigation course and examination, it will be very important to thoroughly review the measurement course beforehand, since 25 percent of the mitigation exam is from the measurement course.

 

How many credits do I need each year?
For AARST- NRPP certification renewal, you will need a minimum of 8 hours of Category I continuing education credits and a minimum of 8 hours of Category II continuing education credits every two years. In states with licensing (such as Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and others), you should check with the state health department(s) in the states in which you plan to do business. To find contact information for state health department(s), please go to:
www.epa.gov/iaq/whereyoulive.html

 

Can I take a course in another state other than where I live?
Yes, you can take a MURC course in any state, with the exception of Illinois, Iowa, and Florida. In Illinois and Florida contact the lead state radon contact in the state in which you plan to do business. To find contact information for state health department(s), please go to
State and Regional Contact Information. In Iowa, you must take the mitigation course in the state.

 

Contact information for AARST-NRPP.
For additional information,
contact AARST-NRPP at 1-800-269-4174.

 

Registrations Questions

How do I register for a course or an examination?
We recommend that you register online through the registration page on this Web site. If you prefer, you can call 1-800-432-8222 and a registration representative will help you register over the phone.

When is the deadline for registration?
Typically one week in advance of the course. Earlier registration helps insure that the course will be held.

 

Can I register on site at a course on the first day?
You can, but this is not recommended. We strongly recommend that you pre-register for a course at least one week in advance so that we can prepare for your attendance, send appropriate materials to the course, and you can complete the advanced reading assignments.

 

Can I transfer from one course to another if my schedule changes?
Yes, you need to contact the radon training registration representative at least 10 days before the course and request this change. Call 1-800-432-8222.

 

Can someone attend a course in my place if my schedule changes?
Yes, you need to contact the radon training coordinator and request this change prior to the start of the course. You will be refunded, and the new participant will need to pay on site. Call 1-800-432-8222.

 

What is your cancellation/refund policy?
We reserve the right to cancel/change course and examinations schedules, if deemed necessary. Normally, attendees will be notified at least 5 business days prior to the start of a course if there are any changes. We will refund registration fees but cannot be held responsible for other costs, charges, or expenses, including cancellation/change charges assessed by airlines or travel agencies.

 

Exam and Certification Questions

Are the exams really difficult?
Yes, they are difficult examinations. The exams are national proficiency certification exams designed to determine the degree of your understanding. You do need to study and prepare for the exams. You should read the advanced reading assignments, plan to study the course materials in the evenings during the course, and be sure to ask questions of your instructor. We take a number of steps to help you prepare for the examinations including providing summaries of key course content, use of practice questions and answers, comparative checklists, course reviews, and experienced, award -winning instructors.

 

What happens if I don’t pass the exam?
We want every MURC student to pass the examination the first time, and we do everything ethically possible to help you pass. If you do not pass an examination, we will work with you to take the exam one more time via the online exam service for NRPP and refund that exam cost to you. You must pay for the exam each time you take it. It is important to pass the exam and apply for certification within 12 months of completing the course.

 

Can I take an exam without taking the course?
If you desire to be nationally certified and/or state licensed, you must complete the courses before you sit for the examination(s).

 

Can I take the course now and take the exam at a later time?
Yes, you can take a national proficiency exam at any time after your course, but for the vast majority of individuals, it is best to take the exam immediately following the course.

 

Do I have to pass the measurement exam before I can take the mitigation course and exam?
No, you do not need to pass the measurement examination before you take the mitigation course and examination.

 

I want to become certified in mitigation only. Do I have the take the measurement exam?
If you plan to only carry-out radon mitigation work, you do not need to take the measurement examination.

 

What do I do now that I have taken the class and passed the exams?
To be certified as a radon service provider, you need to complete an application 1) the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists National Radon Proficiency Program
(AARST-NRPP) and/or 2) the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) . You may choose to join either program. For further information, please check the Web sites for AARST- NRPP and NRSB . MURC is approved by both AARST-NRPP and NRSB as a training provider. We use the AARST-NRPP examinations and our graduates typically choose to certify with AARST-NRPP. There are several different types of AARST-NRPP radon proficiency certifications:

Residential Measurement Standard Service Provider who uses measurement devices (such as activated charcoal adsorption or electret ion chamber measurement device) that are analyzed by a certified analytical laboratory.
The requirements for this certification are:

·   Completion of a AARST-NRPP approved MURC measurement course in the 12 months before application.

·   Completion of a quality assurance/quality control plan.

·   Completion of a signed AARST -NRPP application for certification.

·   Payment of $150 for a two year certification.

 

Residential Measurement Provider Using Field Analytical Device who uses measurement devices such as continuous radon monitors.
The requirements for this certification are:

·   Completion of a AARST -NRPP approved MURC measurement course in the 12 months before application.

·   Completion of a quality assurance/quality control plan.

·   Proof of calibration for each continuous radon monitors or other device that will be used.

·   Proof of having passed a device performance test.

·   Completion of a signed AARST -NRPP application for certification.

·   Payment of $150 for a two year certification.

·   Payment of $75 for each additional type of measurement device used.

 

Residential Mitigation Service Provider.
The requirements for this certification are:

·   Completion of a AARST -NRPP approved MURC combination measurement-mitigation course in the 12 months before application.

·   Completion of a signed AARST -NRPP application for certification.

·   Payment of $150 for a two year certification.

·   Payment of $150 for a two year certification.

 

General Questions

What is the evidence that indoor radon exposure is really a health risk?
The earliest evidence of radon-related health risk came from long-term cohort studies of underground miners conducted over the past 60 years.This evidence was of sufficient strength by 1988 that the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radon and its short-lived decay products as known human carcinogens (Group 1 or Class A). The National Cancer Institute has led the on-going study of 68,000 international underground miner radon risks. The National Academy of Sciences’ extensive assessment of the miner and other health risks associated with indoor radon is found at
Health Risks of Exposure to Radon (BEIR VI) . Based upon this report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed the EPA Assessment of Risk of Radon in Homes .

Since the 1980s, more than 40 residential case-control studies have been conducted.Overall, these studies reflected increased risk of lung cancer in homes with elevated indoor radon. In the mid-portion of the past decade, data from a number of residential case-control studies were pooled which allowed for more rigorous risk assessment (7 studies in North America; 13 studies in Europe; 2 studies in China). The risk estimates from the three sets of pooling studies virtually matched the risk estimates from the miner cohort studies - - - thus, giving very strong evidence that radon exposure in the home increases the risk of dying from lung cancer. Further information about radon health risks is found in the World Health Organization’s WHO Handbook on Indoor Radon – A Public Health Perspective .

The strength of the evidence of the health risk associated with indoor radon exposure led WHO to recommend that (economically developed) countries establish radon reference levels, where mitigation would be recommended, at 100 Becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m3) or 2.7 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L). The WHO recommendation is 33% or one-third lower than the EPA 4 pCi/L Threshold for Action. The Health Physics Society, an organization of 5,500 radiation safety professionals from 44 countries, also recommends reducing exposures below 2.7 pCi/L. Health Physics Society Recommends Considering Action for Indoor Radon Below Current Guidelines . Update on Perspectives and Recommendations on Indoor Radon, position statement of the Health Physics Society .

 

I have heard that there is research that suggests that exposure to low levels of radon exposure do not pose a health risk; is that true?
Yes, there have been “ecological” studies that suggest that there is not a risk of lung cancer at low levels of radon exposure. However, ecological studies should not be used for risk assessment. Some of those who argue hormesis (low doses of ionizing radiation are safe) are supported by those in the nuclear and chemical industry

The National Academy of Sciences reviewed the health risk associated with exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation, including radon, and found, "The scientific research base shows that there is no threshold of exposure below which low levels of ionizing radiation can be demonstrated to be harmless or beneficial," said committee chair Richard R. Monson, associate dean for professional education and professor of epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston. "The health risks – particularly the development of solid cancers in organs – rise proportionally with exposure.” Further information is available at The National Academies Press . Other organizations that share the perspective of the National Academy of Sciences include: National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).

Furthermore, there is evidence from cohort studies of underground miners that reflect increased risk of lung cancer with radon exposure at concentrations as low as 2 pCi/L for periods of less than 2 years.

 

Is there evidence that radon exposure may be related to health risks other then lung cancer?
Yes, there are more than 20 studies that have examined the association of indoor radon exposure and leukemia in general as well as childhood leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Most of these studies have been “ecological” investigations and normally ecological studies are not used for health risk assessment. Thus, this evidence should be considered more suggestive and in need for further research. Other radon-related health risks have been conducted including those involving: Alzheimer; Cardiovascular diseases; Multiple sclerosis. While some of these studies found evidence suggestive of increased risk associated with radon exposure, evidence of a clear link has not been established and further research is needed.

 

What do you recommend for equipment for a certified and/or licensed measurement provider?
In our measurement classes, we cover the full range of passive, time-integrated and continuous radon monitors, their comparative performance characteristics, advantages, disadvantages, and costs. Our instructors also discuss their own experiences with using the various measurement devices and monitors as well as business trades-offs with various options. We also mention leading manufacturers who offer discounts to MURC students for continuous radon monitors. One of the many advantages of taking the MURC measurement course is that we have no stake in whatever device you wish to purchase or lease whereas some of our private sector training providers may have interest in specific devices. Our interest is giving you the best unbiased research-based facts that will help you make the best choices.

 

What is the cost of radon measurement devices? I want to determine if it makes sense for me to join another partner with the equipment or to buy the devices myself.
There are two fundamental options available for radon measurement devices: passive time-integrating devices and continuous radon monitors.

Passive time-integrating devices are the least expensive and the costs will be about $10 to $20 per device, such as activated charcoal. For testing in real estate transactions, you would need two devices and thus your cost for devices per test would be $20 to $40. In addition, you will probably need to overnight the test devices to the analytic laboratory.

Instead of activated charcoal devices, you may choose to purchase a direct reading electret ion chamber measurement system for about $2,600 but your expense per test would typically be about $2.00 or less.

For quality control, you are required to do the following:

·   For every 20 tests, you would need to use a duplicate device ($10 to $20)

·   For every 33 tests, you would need to use a spiked device (about $150)

Generally, competition and service to customers drive radon measurement providers to continuous radon monitors. The costs of continuous radon monitors will be similar to the following:

Initial purchase price ranges from about $800 to in excess of $5,000 per monitor (the price reflects quality of monitors such as minimum sensitive, accuracy, and precision). There are also lease options that typically are about $125 per month.

In either case, purchase or lease:

·   You will need to complete a performance test in order to be certified and/or licensed. A performance test will cost about $150.

·   For quality control, you are required to use a duplicate measurement device for every 10 measurements you complete. The least expensive option for a duplicate would be an activated charcoal device at a cost of $10 to $20.

If you purchase a continuous radon monitor, you will need to calibrate it at least annually and this will cost about $150.