NLIHC Signs Letter Urging HUD Programs to Address Radon Contamination

NLIHC signed on to a letter urging HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge to expedite a HUD-wide policy to ensure that all HUD housing programs test for and mitigate radon contamination. Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive substance that that can accumulate in buildings where it can damage human DNA and cause lung cancer. The organizations signing the letter agree with HUD’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recommendation that HUD’s Office of Environment and Energy develop and issue a consistent radon testing and mitigation policy across all HUD housing programs. The OIG report, HUD Program Offices’ Policies and Approaches for Radon, found that HUD does not have a department-wide policy for dealing with radon contamination. Instead, HUD relies on each program office to develop radon policies that align with HUD’s environmental regulations.

Only HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs has radon a policy that includes radon testing and mitigation requirements. The Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) policy encourages but does not require public housing agencies (PHA) to test for radon and to mitigate excessive radon levels if possible. The Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD), which administers the HOME Investment Partnerships, national Housing Trust Fund, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) programs, does not have a radon policy.

OIG noted that absent a HUD-wide radon policy, each program office has developed a radon policy or approach with varying degrees of testing and mitigation requirements. This inconsistent approach does not align with statements in HUD’s environmental regulations or support industry standards that recommend radon testing every two years after a mitigation system is installed. Consequently, HUD cannot ensure that residents receive consistent and sufficient protection from the hazardous health effects of radon exposure, as testing is the only way to determine indoor radon levels.

Read the letter at:

The OIG report, HUD Program Offices’ Policies and Approaches for Radon [OIG 2020-OE-0003, April 8, 2021] is at: