Understanding the Hazards of Radon in Schools

classroom of kids

Although we put a great emphasis on education and school safety, it can be shocking to learn that schools – and schoolchildren – are neglected when it comes to radon testing. Since radon cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, students, teachers and parents have no idea that it might be present in schools.
Parents often worry about test scores, the quality of school lunches and bullying. However, many parents are unaware of the risk of exposure to radon in schools, so they rarely consider the damage that radon can cause to their child’s health. If a school has radon levels over 4 pCi/L and students are in the building for up to 1,000 hours per year, this is an extremely serious issue. Teachers, who often spend even more hours in school, are at equal or higher risk, particularly when factoring in that they might spend not 12 years but 20, 30, 40 or more years in the building.
The EPA surveyed schools across the country for radon levels and discovered that nearly – one in five – schools are estimated to have a classroom with radon levels over 4 pCi/L. In fact, over 700,000 classrooms are at risk for having high radon levels. Despite the danger that radon exposure poses to the health of our children, only five states require radon testing in classrooms – Rhode Island, Connecticut, Virginia, Florida and Colorado.
Several years ago, NBC traveled to 40 different schools across the country offering free radon testing. To their dismay, all 40 didn’t respond or declined. One Indianapolis district official stated, “This can only make us look bad. If the levels are high, parents will get upset and want every school tested.”
Although Colorado requires radon testing, over 300 of the state’s 2,274 K-12 schools never completed radon testing. There is no law that requires schools to retest or report findings.
If you are a school official seeking a qualified radon mitigation contractor to reduce radon levels in your school, fill out our Find a Radon Professional form today.

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