Radon Testing in Schools
Protecting the Health of Children and Teachers
Chances are you've already heard of radon - a deadly radioactive gas that causes lung cancer.
But what you might not have heard is that high radon 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 radon problem could potentially exist in their school. An EPA nationwide survey of radon levels in schools estimates that nearly one in five has at least one classroom with a radon level above the 4 pCi/l (Pico-Curies per liter) action level - the level at which EPA recommends that schools take action to reduce occupant exposure. EPA estimates that more than seventy thousand (70,000) schoolrooms in use today have high radon levels.
The only way to determine if your school has a radon problem is to test for it. You can't see or smell radon gas. Having your school tested for radon is something you need to discuss with your school officials. Because as real as the threat of radon is, the good news is that a radon problem can be solved.
If you are a parent, student or school staff member you need to insist that the school be properly radon tested according to EPA or State guidelines. More information about radon health risks.
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.
How Are Schools Radon Tested?
Radon testing is simple and relatively inexpensive. EPA and your state radon office have published guidelines for radon testing your school. Contact Home Radon Test.Com for your FREE copy of these school radon testing documents. All school radon testing programs should have these basic elements:
School Radon Testing Strategy
- Radon test all frequently used rooms at and below ground level. This includes auditoriums, gymnasiums and office space. In addition, Home Radon Test.Com recommends radon testing 20% of classrooms above grade.
- Radon testing should be done during the cooler months of the year.
- Follow the radon testing strategy below.
What happens if your school fails the radon test?
- Do an initial radon screening survey. Put radon detectors in each room that is at or below grade. Use either our model AT-100 alpha track radon detectors for 90 days or use the model ST-100 for only 2 days (for over the weekend radon testing). If you have time, the 90 day radon test is probably better. Be sure to order your radon detectors in bulk format with special data sheets for school testing.
- Do follow-up radon testing in the areas that have an initial screening radon result above the EPA radon action level (4pCi/l). Do a long-term follow-up radon test that lasts the entire school year. Use our model AT-100 alpha track radon detector for this school year testing. If any of the initial screening radon test results are high (above say 8 pCi/l), then you should do a short-term follow-up radon test with the model ST-100 radon detectors.
- If any of the rooms (areas) have follow-up radon test results above the EPA Radon Action Level then you should have them radon mitigated right away.
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 reduce the risk of radon induced lung cancer to children, teachers and staff.
How Many Radon Detectors Does Our School Need to Do a Radon Screening Test?
Use this form to determine how many radon detectors you will need to do an initial radon screening test on your school. Don't forget, you will need to order additional quality control (QC) radon detectors. US EPA radon testing protocol for schools requires that 10% of the locations tested be duplicates (2 radon detectors exposed at the same location) and 5% of your total be blank or control samples. If your school radon survey will use more than 100 detectors, then you should also add 5% for spikes (radon detectors exposed to a known radon level).
Fill out the School Radon Testing Form and fax it back to Home Radon Test.Com at 610.868.2764. Click here to download the form. (The form is a MSWord document)
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