Radon gas is an invisible threat to the health of people indoors everywhere. However, fewer people spend more time indoors than children in the classroom do, putting them at a greater risk to the risks of radon gas exposure than most.
What risks do children run by being exposed to radon gas in schools?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that possesses no smell, taste, or color, allowing it to build up in dangerous concentrations inside schools, homes, and offices.
Over time and given enough exposure, radon gas can cause lung cancer and other respiratory health issues. In fact, radon is the leading cause of cancer amongst non-smokers in North America, and children are twice as vulnerable to the ill effects of radon gas than adults.
On average, children spend an estimated 6.6 hours a day in classrooms for 180 days a year, mostly during the fall, winter, and spring months. Those also happen to be the seasons when indoor radon gas levels are at their highest and most dangerous.
The only way to know whether a school environment is truly safe for children is to test for radon gas using a radon monitor. Radon detectors allow building inspectors and radon mitigators to monitor for radon gas levels over both short and long term periods, allowing them to track the severity of the radon gas problem, locate its source, and prevent it from worsening.
The EPA recommends that all schools nationwide be tested for radon. However, radon gas monitoring is not required in the vast majority of the United States. Only 9 states require radon testing in public schools, leaving children in 41 states at high risk of radon gas exposure.
As a parent, what can you do to increase radon gas awareness and testing in your child’s school? Contact your child’s school today to find out if they test for radon gas. If not, inform other parents about the risks of radon gas, and demand that schools begin implementing radon testing procedures to protect your child today.