“Following the Science”: in search of evidence-based policy for indoor air pollution from Radon in Ireland

Lacchia, Anthea R. / Geertje Schuitema / Aparjita Banerjee
Externe Publikationen (2021)

in: Sustainability 12 (21), article 9197

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219197
Open access

Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can accumulate inside dwellings, represents the second biggest cause of lung cancer globally. In Ireland, radon is linked to approximately 300 lung cancer cases every year, equating to 12% of all lung cancer deaths. Despite the health risks posed by radon air pollution, Ireland lacks well-defined and universally applicable air pollution-related public health policies. Through purposive literature sampling, we critically examine the case of indoor radon policy development in Ireland. Specifically, we analyse the evidence-based policymaking process relating to indoor radon pollution from three different knowledge dimensions, namely political, scientific, and practical knowledge. In doing so, we identify various challenges inherent to pollution-related public policymaking. We highlight the difficulties of balancing and integrating information from multiple disciplines and perspectives and argue that input from multiple scientific areas is crucial, but can only be achieved through continued, dialogic communication between stakeholders. On the basis of our analysis, we suggest that a transdisciplinary perspective, defined as a holistic approach which subordinates disciplines and looks at the dynamics of whole systems, will allow evidence-based policymaking to be effective. We end with recommendations for evidence-based policymaking when it comes to public health hazards such as radon, which are applicable to sustainable air pollution management beyond Ireland.

Über die Autorin

Banerjee, Aparajita

Environmental and Resource Sociology, Public Policy

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