Many people think radon is only an issue in our homes, but did you know kids, teachers, and staff can also be exposed to radon in their schools? When sending your child to school, the last thing on your mind should be exposure to radon gas. However, this may be more common in Utah than you think—nearly 1 in 5 classrooms have dangerous radon levels.
Radon is an odorless, invisible, radioactive gas created when uranium in soil decays. The gas rises from underground and gets trapped inside buildings, and those inside then breathe it in. Prolonged exposure to radon gas over time, such as inside a classroom, can lead to lung cancer and other lung-related diseases. In fact, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers in the United States.
Schools are not immune to high radon gas levels. Because children spend so much time inside their classrooms and daycare centers, they may be at risk if the building has high levels of radon. Additionally, because kids take more breaths per minute than adults, they may take in more radon over time.
The good news is that high radon levels can be reduced! Eleanor Divver, Radon Coordinator with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, works closely with schools to test their radon levels and protect children in urban and rural areas. Even more, according to The Deseret News, “most [schools with high radon levels] can be remedied by adjusting HVAC systems to increase the airflow.”
We encourage concerned parents to contact their schools and daycares to ask if they have performed a radon test in the last five years or have a radon mitigation system. If they have not tested the building for radon, we encourage you to contact the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
The lowest level of a home is at greatest risk for high radon levels, and this portion of a home is often where children’s bedrooms reside. If your child has a bedroom in the basement or the lowest inhabitable level of a home, we encourage you to order a free radon test today.
Radon Gas Exposure in New Homes - Have you heard of radon gas? This odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that enters homes through the foundation is considered the “silent killer” for two reasons. First, you cannot detect it without testing for it. Second, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States (and the leading cause in non-smokers). In fact, it accounts for over 21,000 deaths each year.
Many think that high radon levels are only present in older homes, but radon levels can be high in new homes, too!
Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium in the ground. It enters a home through construction joints and cracks or pores in the foundation. Even if there are no cracks in a newer home’s foundation, new houses are still built on soil that likely contains uranium, and the cement in the foundation will always have pores that can let radon in. It doesn’t matter the age of the home, radon can always be present inside because it is based on how much uranium is directly beneath your home.
There are a few things that you can do to protect yourself from radon gas exposure. First, if you are building a home, consider installing a radon system before the foundation is poured. This can drastically reduce the amount of radon that enters your home. If your home’s foundation has already been poured, don’t! A mitigation system can still be installed and will be just as effective as one that is installed before the foundation was poured.
If you are concerned about the house you currently live in, or if you are interested in buying a home, the first step to protect yourself is to perform a radon test. Testing a home for radon can be done quickly and is free—just fill out the form on this page to request a test! If the home tests high, a radon mitigation system can usually be installed within 2–5 hours to reduce your radon levels.
Questions? Call us at 801-871-0715 to learn more.