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High Radon Levels Found in 1 in 5 Schools, More Testing Advised

IAQ Index™ provides test kits to help identify radon levels and other hazards in schools, homes and offices.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “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 seventy thousand (70,000) schoolrooms in use today have high short-term radon levels.”

Radon is a radioactive gas that is known to cause cancer. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. The gas can move up through the soil and penetrate buildings through cracks, sumps and other holes in the building slab or foundation. Once inside, it can result in high levels of the gas that people then breathe. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today.

Earlier this month, KWQC News 6 broadcast a report about radon in schools in Iowa. It stated that schools in Iowa are not required to test for radon, but that preschools are mandated to be tested every two years. The report has raised concerns with students, parents and teachers about radon levels and how much time they spend in an indoor school environment that may have never been tested for radon.

One company that has been at the forefront of helping schools and others test for radon is IAQ Index. The company has developed an easy to use test kit that makes identifying radon levels a quick and simple task. “The only way to determine if a problem exists in a school or other building is to test for it,” reported Bruce Jacobs, CIH, President of IAQ Index. “With summer vacation starting soon in most school districts, now is an ideal time to have facilities tested to ensure radon levels are not elevated. The good news is that if high levels are detected, there are steps that can be implemented to lower radon levels to make these indoor areas safe for students and faculty,” he continued.

To learn more about radon or other indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns, please visit IAQ Index at http://www.IAQIndex.com, email info@IAQIndex.com or call (888) 259-3883.

About IAQ Index
IAQ Index was developed by a Certified Industrial Hygienist with decades of experience dealing with indoor air quality issues. IAQ Index was developed as a health-based, easy-to-understand, air quality index that is calculated from data generated for various parameters commonly measured during IAQ surveys. The approach is similar to the EPA’s Air Quality Index that has been used historically to communicate the risks posed by common pollutants in the ambient air.

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User photo for: lynnah

Testing an unoccupied building for radon during the summer is NOT appropriate. Radon testing should be conducted on weekdays while the building is occupied by students and staff. The purpose of radon testing is to determine if the school has an issue that needs to be addressed. The results of testing a vacant building will not assist the school in determining whether or not radon is an issue. It's not a matter of protocol or regulation - it's a matter of usefulness. Radon testing IS appropriate during the colder months, during "normal" building conditions when the building is occupied and HVAC systems are running normally.