The Psychology of Radon Inaction
Having just been turned down by my local hospital when trying to start a Newborn Radon Program, I got to thinking that there is apparently more to radon action than a strict scientific approach would suggest. The obvious reluctance of nurses and doctors at my hospital to test their own houses or hand out free test kits to their pediatric patients made me do a Google search on the "psychology of radon inaction." This 2017 report came up from David Hevey, School of Psycology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland: Radon Risk and Remediation: A Psychological Perspective. Perhaps we in the radon community should give the psychology of radon risk and action more attention.
Jeff, fascinating topic - thank you for sharing the report. I think about this topic a lot. Yesterday, I stopped to grab a coffee at Mt. Hood, while driving between Portland and Bend, OR. In the course of chit chat with the gal making my latte the topic of cougars came up. A woman hiker was killed last year very near this coffee shop. Interstingly, conversations about dangerous cougars are not uncommon in rural Oregon. I say interestingly because while an estimated 250 Oregonians die each year from Radon associated lung cancer, the woman killed last was the first modern day report of a person killed by a cougar in Oregon. I suspect, based upon antidotel evidence, that more Oregonians in coffee shops talk about cougar risks than Radon risks — despite the minuscule chance of being attacked by a cougar and much greater risk posed by Radon. Bottom line: people are often not. rational. Another brief example of risk assessment by the public. I recently noticed a fellow looking at handguns in the case an outdoor store. We started chatting. He said he wanted a gun for self protection. I asked if he thought violent crime was getting worse. He informed me it was getting much worse quickly. Wellll, statistics indicate violent crime has fallen to the lowest levels in decades (chicago not withstanding). ‘This fellow will spend $500 on a Glock, but probably not $25 on a Radon tent kit. People are not rational.
Gordon T Satoh
Liability and cost to change are two reasons professionals are less likely to embrace this type of testing. I found this out myself and will be presenting poster on this at the Symposium on Wednesday.
Even if the test kits are free, the liabilities are still there.
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Yes, more studies are needed.
Gordon T Satoh
Gordon, I am not attending the symposium this year. Will you share your poster and findings? I am very curious. I think if the doctors handed out the test kits with a disclaimer that stated the test kits are provided by an outside group and a statement such as "we are not liable under any claim, charge or demand, whether in contract, tort, or otherwise, for any and all loss, cost, charge, claim, demand, fee, or expense of any nature or kind arising out of, connected with, resulting from, or sustained as a result of any radon test."
Jeff, thanks for sharing this. I love this research from David Hevey.
The first time I saw it, I felt like it was reassurance of what we are experiencing in trying to get people to take action on radon. We knew it was a lot of steps and having research confirm it just made the effort we have been putting into small details was validated. Anyone who works in radon awareness should read this.
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