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Radiation

The Environmental Law Institute conducts research on the ways that the risks from radiation, both ionizing and non-ionizing, can be more effectively communicated, managed and mitigated. Consistent with its mission, ELI also acts as a convening forum for frank discussion about radiation related issues. A focus of our work in this area has been harmonization of chemical and radiation risk management practices. Harmonization does not mean that all problems require identical treatment. Instead it refers to fitting risk management decisions into a common policy framework aimed at aggregate risk reduction and public health protection.

On June 8 and 9, 1998, the Environmental Law Institute and the Johns Hopkins University Risk Science and Public Policy Institute (JHURSPPI) convened an interactive workshop to discuss chemical and radiation risk management. The workshop, sponsored by EPA, brought together risk managers and other experts to examine similarities and differences in chemical and radiation risk management approaches and to explore opportunities for harmonization.

ELI and JHURSPPI continue research on harmonization in a series of six case studies of chemical and radiation risk management sites. Because of our continuing work, and expertise, in risk harmonization, we have been a party in providing expertise to the National Academy of Sciences and the Interagency Steering Committee on Radiation Standards (ISCORS). Also, through our convening activities, we have brought together diverse interests in a way that fosters communication and honest idea exchange.

The ELI and the Center for Public Health and Law have been involved with other radiation issues. In 1995, we held a stakeholder workshop to examine the contentious issue of recycling scrap metal from nuclear facilities. We also brought together professionals from business and government, citizens, scientists and advocates to examine the scientific, policy, and equity aspects of non-ionizing radiation exposures from electromagnetic fields created by electric power generation.

ELI has also worked closely with real estate professionals, radiation scientists and homebuyers and sellers to make sure that brokers and agents understand the health hazards of exposure to radon in the home, and how they can educate homebuyers and sellers to reduce radon risk. ELI developed award-winning workshops for agents and brokers that have been offered in over 20 states. ELI also worked with the Real Estate Brokers Association in the creation of specialized radon training.

Related Publications

Locke, P.A., Grossman, B., Burke T. and Tran, N., “Can Radiation and Chemical Risk Management be Harmonized?”, (Health Physics, 2001; 8:390)

“Caveat Broker: What can Real Estate Licensees Do About Their Potentially Expanding Liability for Failure to Disclose Radon Risks in Home Purchase and Sales Transactions?” (Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, 2000)

“Chemical and Radiation Environmental Risk Management: Differences, Commonalities, and Challenges” (Risk Analysis, April 2000)

A Workshop on the Similarities and Differences in Chemical and Radiation Risk Management: Workshop Proceedings

Workshop Discussion Draft of Chemical and Radiation Environmental Risk Management: Foundations, Common Themes, Similarities and Differences

A Workshop on Recycling Scrap Metals from Nuclear Facilities: Final Workshop Summary (1996)

Decision Makers’ Workshop on Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Electric and Magnetic Fields: Final Report (1995)

Related Conferences, Seminars and Workshops

Workshop Addressing the Similarities and Differences in Chemical and Radiation Risk Management — Annapolis, MD (1998)

Recycling Scrap Metal Workshop — Washington, DC (1996)