Do you have school age children, relatives, or friends that work within a school system? If so, you’ll want to know if there is a lurking threat in the building that is invisible, odorless, and causes lung cancer.
Children are particularly vulnerable when exposed to radon. A student’s exposure to radon, at 4 pCi/L, is equivalent to smoking half a pack of cigarettes per day. Elementary school-age children exposed to the U.S. EPA’s recommended action level of 4.0 pCi/L for one school year – eight hours per day, 180 days in the year – will receive nearly 10 times as much radiation as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows outside a nuclear power plant.
Children’s young, developing lungs are significantly more vulnerable to damage from radon inhalation than those of adults. Also, due lung shape and size, children breathe at a higher rate than do adults, resulting in an increased risk of more radon entering their lungs, potentially resulting in cancer-causing DNA changes.
A nationwide survey of radon levels in schools estimated that nearly one in five schools in the US has at least one classroom with short-term radon levels above the action level of 4 pCi/L, the level at which EPA recommends that schools take mitigation actions.
As in homes and other buildings, the only way to know whether a school – or a classroom within a school – has high radon levels is to test. Although an increasing number of states and school districts are encouraging – or mandating, in some locations – we have a long way to go before all of the estimated 100,000 U.S. schools (with about 2.5 million classrooms) are tested for radon.
Protect your children: Make sure that your school district tests for radon.
For more information or to learn more about the radon testing in schools, CLICK HERE.