You may have heard in the news recently that a central Vermont school has elevated levels of radon gas. Of course, this is concerning to parents as some have never heard of radon or only know that it can cause lung cancer. It is important to understand that while the dangers of radon gas are real, the risk is the result of long-term exposure over the course of your lifetime. It is still safe for children to attend school while elevated radon levels are being lowered.
School is really the students’ secondary exposure to radon. Since students spend more time in their homes, home is their primary exposure to radon. Because of this, it is extremely important that you also test your homes for radon gas.
Long-term exposure to radon gas is the number-one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates radon is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year — this is more than drunk driving-related fatalities.
Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally during the decay of uranium in the soil. Because uranium is especially prevalent in rocky areas and around granite, buildings in Vermont and New Hampshire have a greater risk of having elevated radon levels than the national average.
Testing for radon is simple. You can obtain a radon test kit through the Department of Health, the hardware store or a certified lab. Alternatively, you can hire a certified radon measurement provider, who is trained in testing protocols, to conduct the test for you.
The EPA and the Department of Health urge homeowners to take action by testing their homes for radon: Test, fix, save a Life.
AARST-NRPP Certified Radon Measurement Provider