Chances are you've already heard of Radon - a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. But what you might not have heard is that high levels have been found in a number of schools across the country. Therefore, it is important that students, teachers and parents be aware that a potential problem could exist in their school.
A nationwide survey of radon levels in schools estimates that nearly one in five has at least one schoolroom with a short-term radon level above the action level of 4 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter) - the level at which EPA recommends that schools take action to reduce the level. EPA estimates that more than 70,000 schoolrooms in use today have high short-term radon levels.
The only way to determine if a problem exists is to test for it. Having your school tested for radon is something you may want to discuss with your school officials. Because as real as the threat of radon is, the good news is that the problem can be solved.
EPA's national survey of schools produced some alarming results about concentrations in our children's classrooms. Public awareness must be raised about the hazards of radon to hasten efforts to reduce the danger. All schools must be tested to determine if there is a problem, and schools must inform parents of the results. We cannot ignore this problem. "Kathryn Whitfill, National PTA President.
The EPA ranks indoor Radon among the most serious environmental health problems facing us today. After smoking, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States causing an estimated twenty-one thousand (21,000) lung cancer deaths a year.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that seeps into buildings from the surrounding soil. In some cases, well water may be a source of radon. You can't see, taste, or smell radon. In fact, the only way to discover if high levels of radon are present is through testing.
All students have the right to expect a safe and healthy environment. Teachers and other school employees should encourage their schools to conduct radon tests and undertake all necessary corrective actions. The health of our children demands no less. Keith Geiger, NEA President.
EPA recommends that all schools nationwide be tested for Radon. To date, approximately 20% of the schools nationwide have done some testing. Some states have tested all their public schools.
Testing for radon is simple and relatively inexpensive.
The basic elements of testing are:
· Test all frequently used rooms on and below the ground level;
· Conduct tests in the cooler months of the year.
Fortunately, even if your school does fail the radon test, the problem can be corrected. Proven techniques are available that will lower radon levels and lower risks of lung cancer from radon exposure.
KES Radon is providing Rodon testing services and Radon mitigation services in schools.