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My open letter to the State of New Jersey regarding their Radon Law Misinterpretation  XML
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Nathan
King
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Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
Messages: 5236
Location: Carmel, IN
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Recently, the Department sent out an email. It is below my response, as follows:[i]

Hi Maxine,

My name is Nathan Thornberry and I am with RWS, and we have a Radon Monitor known as the Breeze Radon Monitor. Some of our clients forwarded this email to us with concerns regarding your email and I have to say I share the same concerns – and I’d like to help clarify this matter because the way you have stated the issue makes it sound like a majority of radon tests done for the last 10+ years in the State of New Jersey were done unlawfully. I know that is not the case, so allow me to explain my position. I’d like to give you and your department the opportunity to review my position, respond, and work through the issue.

Per NJSA 26:2D-73... “No person shall disclose to any person...” (and the rest of your quote below, abbreviated for brevity)

Your email erroneously equates electronic systems to “persons”. This is a misinterpretation. You’ve added (see below) in your own words (or Anita’s) something that isn’t in the law at all. “it is impermissible to use a CRM that uploads (info about) nonpublic testing locations unless the owner has waived their right to confidentiality”. This is not stated anywhere in the regulations and it isn’t accurate nor practical for all of the following reasons;

An electronic system is not a “person”. With very limited exceptions over the last decade, nearly all Radon tests have been uploaded to an electronic system. Modern CRM’s like ours are cutting edge with cellular technology but others have had WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities for some time and the others have had wired connection options. Regardless of the method of transmission, these radon test results (complete with the location defined in every circumstance) have been uploaded to electronic systems just like ours and any other Radon Monitors’ systems. By your flawed logic here, no Radon Test Result can ever be emailed. It’s simply not practical. Most (80%+) results (including those that have a managed system like ours and half a dozen others on the market) are uploaded to a contact management system and delivered electronically along with inspection reports.

Confidentiality has never been broken...as if it mattered. I’m a consumer and a homeowner myself. I see many applications for privacy and protection of data for many things. I wouldn’t want the location and weight of my last bowel movement posted publicly. I wouldn’t want my family vacation photos shared publicly without my permission. But Radon levels? Post my radon level right on my front door and circulate the results to all of my neighbors too if you’d like. There’s no good argument for confidentiality here and in fact there’s a great argument for publishing results as known pockets of elevated Radon levels might encourage testing, action, and prevention of lung cancer for families throughout the Garden State. It’s a preposterous, misguided provision but even if you completely disagree there (and it’s fine, it’s in the regulations)...no Confidentiality has ever been broken. Our systems (and those of others and email systems and contact management systems) are built and designed specifically to only allow the testing professional and the appointed persons authorized to see the reports view them.

Most Radon tests are done within the Inspection Contingency provisions of a Purchase Contract for Real Property. Defining Radon testing, as has been done in the communication below, would essentially limit it to inaccurate and fraud-ridden methods like charcoal canisters. Of course, in order to comply with your misinterpretation of New Jersey regs, the charcoal canister would then have to be sealed, put in a bag with no defining marks on it, sent to a lab to come up with results, and then send a piece of paper with results (without an address or name on them) via carrier pigeon. Obviously, this simply isn’t practical and for purposes of getting results quickly and efficiently to all parties it is absolute that electronic means of review and submission of results will be utilized. I would argue as well that when the seller of real property agrees to the inspections and environmental testing to be performed on behalf of the buyer that they have waived their confidentiality at the very least to the purchaser, their representatives, and the testing professionals (as well as the systems they utilize in their business).

Maxine, there isn’t a testing professional in all of North America that doesn’t hold their clients’ privacy and professionalism above all else. Your email is inaccurate and will undoubtedly cause confusion amongst New Jersey testing professionals where it is unnecessary. Please send out a retraction as soon as possible.

Sincerely yours,

P. Nathan Thornberry





----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Williams, Maxine"
Sent: Thu, Oct 10, 2019 at 2:22 PM
Subject: FW: Continuous Radon Monitors
Dear Radon Professional,

It has come to our attention that new continuous radon monitors (CRM) from several manufacturers automatically upload address and GPS coordinates of testing locations to the manufacturer’s cloud. Further, some devices do not allow this feature to be disabled.

Please be reminded that the New Jersey Radiation Protection Act states, “No person shall disclose to any person, except the Department of Environmental Protection or the Department of Health, the address or owner of a nonpublic building that the person tested or treated for the presence of radon gas and radon progeny, unless the owner of the building waives, in writing, this right of confidentiality.” N.J.S.A. 26:2D-73.

Accordingly, in New Jersey, it is impermissible to use a CRM that uploads the address or coordinates of nonpublic testing locations unless the owner has waived their right of confidentiality.

Please consider this when purchasing new CRMs and review the specifications and settings of your CRMs to ensure you are in compliance.

Anita Kopera, Supervisor
Radon Section

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Environmental Radiation
Mail Code 25-01, PO Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420

P. Nathan Thornberry
www.Nathan.tv
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