Elevated levels of radon were found at a Rockville elementary school where parents and teachers have raised concerns in recent weeks about potential health hazards related to the odorless, colorless radioactive gas.
Montgomery County school officials have posted results from recent retesting at Fallsmead Elementary School that showed average radon levels in 14 rooms at or above the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L).
School district officials said mitigation measures to reduce radon levels are being planned and that they don’t believe there is an immediate safety hazard. The highest recent reading at Fallsmead was 5.4 pCi/L, according to the report.
A letter reporting the findings was emailed to parents and staff on Dec. 11. “I am continuing to work with the appropriate offices in MCPS so that this situation is resolved promptly,” wrote Roni S. Silverstein, the school’s principal.
Elevated levels of radon were found in four of the Springfield elementary schools tested during the 2010-11 year.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services tested 38 school buildings for the gas -- a naturally occurring radioactive material that comes from the soil. The other district buildings will be tested this school year.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency urges action when the average concentration hits 4 picocuries per liter, which translates to 12,672 radioactive disintegrations in one liter of air during a 24-hour period.
A risk analysis completed by the EPA indicates that at the 4-picocuries-per-liter radon level, seven out of 1,000 people have the possibility of developing lung cancer.
DHSS officials pointed to a guide answering frequent questions and emphasized that there is no imminent risk to the health of individuals occupying the buildings.
Taking test seriously
Watch this WTVF-TV news segment.
Metro school officials are using the summer to lower levels of radon gas in classrooms across Davidson County.
Maintenance crews have installed radon fans at three schools and the health department is working to test every school.
The testing came after a NewsChannel 5 investigation revealed that Metro forgot about or ignored a law passed by the Metro council in the late 1980's.
The law requires radon testing at all Metro schools and has now been added to the Metro Code of Laws.
Just this month, the federal government launched a new effort to warn people about the dangers of the odorless, invisible gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Gloria Linnertz knows how deadly the gas can be.
She was by her husband's side when he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
The South Shore Regional School Board is ordering renovations to an elementary school to remove pervasive levels of radon gas.
The radon was first detected at Hebbville Academy, just outside Bridgewater, after the province ordered testing in March 2010 of all public buildings for radon.
Follow-up tests were done this past winter, and results indicated levels of radon were above the guidelines for school hours.
The tender to fix the radon problem was issued Wednesday.
The elevated levels are not considered an immediate health risk, but dealing with radon is now part of managing public buildings across Nova Scotia.
For Crystal Publicover, the presence of radon gas at her son's school was a surprise, though the school board did make the findings public knowledge.
"I wasn't aware of it. I'm glad the school has stood up and is fixing it. I'm glad because it could cause health problems," said Publicover.
GENESEE COUNTY, Michigan — Just one top prize would have been nice.
After 54 years of finding the area’s best young scientists, the Flint Regional Science Fair never had one of its participants bring home a first-place or best-in-category award from the international competition.
Two of the five Genesee County-area students who participated in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles this month each brought home the two highest honors for their categories: first place and best in category.
Matthew Bauerle, a home-schooled 11th-grader from Oceola Township in Livingston County, and Nithin Tumma, a 17-year-old Port Huron Northern High School student, won the awards at what is dubbed the world’s largest high school science research competition.
Only twice in the competition’s history have two students from the same regional fair won the best-in-category award, fair officials said.
Watch this news segment.
Metro is taking steps to lower radon levels inside schools following a NewsChannel 5 investigation.
Initial tests for the cancer causing gas showed high levels of radon at several schools.
On Wednesday, the Health Department released its latest round of tests, including re-tests from three schools. The tests reveal Metro has lowered radon levels at some schools, but other schools are still testing high.
Parents and employees at Two Rivers Middle have been concerned ever since the first round of tests showed some classrooms were more than ten times higher than what the EPA recommends.
"People are on edge," said PTO President Kelly Cooper after seeing the first test results. "Until we get those results back, I'm sure we'll have a lot worries about it."
The Metro Public Health Department on Monday released preliminary results from more radon tests conducted at seven Metro Nashville Public Schools.
These results are for Margaret Allen and Oliver middle schools and Glencliff, Julia Green, Lakeview, Shayne and Tusculum elementaries. All except Shayne showed radon levels high enough for the Environmental Protection Agency to suggest intervention.
The health department has completed initial radon tests in 42 schools. All of the results are posted on the school district’s website, www.mnps.org.
A Metro ordinance requires the health department to periodically test all school buildings. Radon is a radioactive gas released during the decay of uranium, which naturally occurs in rocks and soil in Middle Tennessee.
In recognition of National Radon Action Month, Becky Chenhall from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension presented radon information to all of the science classes at Oconee Middle School in Oconee County, GA.
Unsafe amounts of the potentially toxic gas radon were found in fifth-grade classrooms, the guidance office and other rooms in the southern wing of Two Rivers Middle School, one of 35 Metro schools tested last month.
Two Rivers had some of the highest levels found by the radon tests, but 29of the schools tested had trace amounts at levels higher than the Environmental Protection Agency says is safe, according to results released Friday by the Metro Public Health Department, which led the testing.
"We haven't gotten calls yet. Those will probably start on Monday as everyone runs to see what the report says," Two Rivers Principal Bill Moody said, adding that the school may get parent requests to move their children to other classrooms.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas released during the decay of uranium, found in most rock and soil and common in Middle Tennessee. Continued exposure over time can lead to lung cancer.