Radon Concerns During Renovations for a Healthy School Environment
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Why It's Important
- Radon is a naturally occurring gas that seeps into buildings from the surrounding soil. In some cases, well water may be a source of radon.
- Indoor radon is one of the most serious environmental health problems. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking.
- High levels of radon have been found in a number of schools across the country. You can't see, taste or smell radon—only testing can identify it.
What You Can Do
- Equip new buildings with radon-resistant and easy-to-mitigate features—it is typically easier and much less expensive than to add them after the building is occupied.
- All schools should test for radon. Conduct tests during cooler months and test all frequently used rooms on and below ground level.
- To determine if your building site is located in a radon-prone area, find information about local radon zones and radon programs.
- EPA recommends testing all schools for radon. As part of an effective IAQ management program, schools can take simple steps to test for radon and reduce risks to occupants if high radon levels are found.
EPA and Federal Partners
- EPA's Radon website contains general information, links and other documents related to sources of radon in the environment and the risks that radon creates for the public. The website includes:
- The Reduce Chemical and Environmental Contaminant Hazards component of EPA's model school environmental health program offers strategies to limit radon exposure.
- Radon Information for Kids, Students and Teachers on the EPA website lists resources for learning about radon, such as videos, games, contests, suggestions for science projects and more.
- Radon Prevention in the Design and Construction of Schools and Other Large Buildings by EPA provides detailed instructions for the six essential steps for designing and installing active soil depressurization systems, a common method for lowering radon levels.
Regional, State and Local Resources
- Sensible Steps for Healthier School Environments by EPA provides an overview of issues related to radon in schools.