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radon in schools

Main office at Portland's Lent School closed due to high radon levels

A second round of radon testing in six rooms at four Portland schools revealed persistent very high levels of radioactive radon in the Lent School main office, so office functions have been moved to another room in the school, district officials announced late Thursday.

It is the latest in a long string of environmental safety problems revealed by officials in Oregon's largest school district this spring and summer.

Radon is an invisible, odorless gas that occurs naturally in the ground. Exposure over long periods of time can lead to lung cancer. Even when vented 24 hours a day, the Lent office gave off radon readings at three time the federal danger threshold....

Full article here: http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2016/06/main_office_at_portlands_lent.html

Cancer-causing radon gas shuts Portland school cafeteria

The cafeteria at Alliance High School in Northeast Portland has been closed after a second round of testing showed dangerously high levels of cancer-causing radon gas, Portland school district officials announced late Friday afternoon.

The test results indicate they were emailed to the school district on Tuesday; it was unclear why school district officials waited three days to make them public.

Alliance, a small alternative high school emphasizing professional-technical skills, is located on Northeast Alberta Street and serves about 200 students, mostly age 17 and older. Its building is the former Meek Elementary...

Read full article at he The Oregonian/OregonLive: http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2016/06/cancer-causing_radon_gas_shuts.html

FCPS To Vote On Radon Repairs Monday

The Fayette County School Board is expected to vote on a potential solution after identifying nine schools that tested positive for high levels of radon.

Nine schools tested positive for the gas. Radon is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas, occurring naturally as a decay product of radium. It is also the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Early this month, radon was found in nine schools Bryan Station High School, Booker T. Washington Intermediate Academy, Harrison Elementary, Leestown Middle School, Lexington Traditional Magnet School, Mary Todd Elementary, Russell Cave Elementary, SCAPA and Sandersville Elementary.

In 2015, LEX Investigates featured a story on radon testing in public schools. After testing for radon at Locust Elementary returned high levels, all 66 schools were tested.

Is radon in Utah schools? KSL investigates

HOLLADAY — A silent killer may be lurking in Utah schools, but districts aren't required to test for it. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that seeps up from the ground. Health officials say it is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Many Utahns have tested their homes and found high levels of radon, but what's going on in our schools?

To find out, the KSL Investigators teamed up with radon technicians and district officials to test six elementary schools in the City of Holladay: Cottonwood Elementary, Crestview Elementary, Howard R. Driggs Elementary, Morningside Elementary, Oakwood Elementary, and Spring Lane Elementary.

Armed with more than 200 charcoal test kits, Radovent technicians set out samples in every office, classroom, and space frequently occupied by teachers, students and staff.

Read more here

Standout Student: Pascal Acree studies radon levels

Last year when Riverwood International Charter School student Pascal Acree was a sophomore in Honors Chemistry, he did his science fair project on the effect of environmental conditions on radon levels in homes. This year, as a junior, he took it to the next level — making a poster and presenting at the international Radon Symposium in Charleston, SC.

He said he was inspired to do the project because of radon test results in his own home.

“My science project examined the effect of environmental conditions on radon levels in a home,” Pascal said. “I was motivated to pursue this because a radon test had recently been performed in our house.

Local nonprofit's radon program helps protect children in daycare

Recently, a Lindenhurst daycare provider took advantage of a free program from Respiratory Health Association to help ensure her charges' safety. Robin Kolec, owner of Robin's Family Home Daycare, attended a seminar on radon through the Lake County Home Daycare Network.

At the seminar, a Respiratory Health Association educator taught daycare providers from licensed daycare centers and licensed daycare homes about new radon regulations. The law requires daycare centers and daycare homes be tested for radon at least once every three years. Respiratory Health Association provided radon test kits - which are easy to use at home - and raffled off a home radon mitigation. Robin, who had higher than recommended radon levels in her home, won the mitigation and put her mind to ease about her family's and her daycare children's safety.

Radon levels in Hamilton schools not known, resident says

A Waterdown resident is urging the local school board and provincial government introduce mandatory testing in high risk areas for radon — the second leading cause of lung cancer among Canadians.

A colourless and odourless gas that is naturally produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, radon can seep through a crack in a building’s foundation.

Robert Graham has been in a two-year long battle with government officials to have testing done at school sites.

“I think the fear is if they test a few of the schools, especially the one-level schools, that if they found that they have high levels that everybody is going to panic,” he said. “It’s not to cause panic it’s just to see are kids still going to schools that may have this radon leakage problem - you don’t know unless you test.”

A grandfather to four children, Graham said the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board has so far been mum on whether it will test some of its facilities.

Watchdog Report: Is your school free of radon?

Only a test can find it, yet schools go untested

Radon, an invisible killer, has gone undetected in more than half of New York’s school buildings because testing for the naturally occurring gas is not required.

A analysis by Central New York Media Group of the most recent school building condition reports at the state Education Department found the reports indicate that 1,832 school buildings have not been tested for radon.

More than 400 of those buildings are in 34 counties designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as having high potential for elevated indoor radon levels, according to the newspaper’s analysis of the condition reports for 3,136 public school buildings outside of New York City.

The presence of untested school buildings in potentially high-radon areas runs counter to long-standing advice of public health experts and the EPA.

Iowa House Approves Scaled-Back Bill on Radon in Schools

A scaled-back bill regarding radon testing in Iowa schools passed the whole Iowa House on Tuesday , setting up negotiations between the House and Senate over the issue.

The House has completely rewritten Senate File 366 to direct the state Department of Education to encourage school districts to test for the presence of cancer-causing radon gas in school buildings and to address high concentrations. The bill contains no actual mandate for districts to perform the testing, though, and only requires school officials to notify the department if they have a radon testing and mitigation plan in place or if they plan to adopt such a plan in the future.

Information received by the department will be turned over to the Legislature.

It passed on a 98-1 vote.

Bill sponsor Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley said he’s received a positive response from school superintendents.

School Radon Bill Still Alive but Testing Removed

Plans to require radon testing in schools statewide were sidelined this week by Republican lawmakers and school officials who worry positive tests would expose districts and the state to serious liability and expensive repairs.

Supporters of the Democratic-led legislation had strong criticism that the bill under consideration now only requires districts to report on whether they've conducted tests and have a plan to reduce radon if it's found.

"Saying we're not even going to look to see if there's a problem, I think, is a stunning dereliction of duty and I'm very disappointed in that," Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, at a news conference Thursday. "If you're going to be responsible you should test and deal with the problems that testing reveals but putting our head in the sand just means more people will die of lung cancer."