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Wednesday, June 17th
Radon testing and radon mitigation are prominent in many Utah homes, but schools don’t always receive the same level of attention. For that reason, Channel 5 KSL-TV, Utah’s local NBC affiliate, partnered with radon technicians and school officials to test six elementary schools in the City of Holladay.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking action if testing shows a radon level at 4 pCi/L or higher. According to the National Cancer Institute, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
The results of the test were encouraging, with just three of the 175 rooms tested coming back with an elevated radon level. Once these elevated levels were found, the school system took action to reduce the level of radon in the rooms. "This one is very simple. We adjust the fresh air dampers that let fresh air into the building, and then the rest of the fan system operates," said Donald Adams, Assistant Superintendent of Support Services for GraniteSchool District.
Further testing confirmed that the changes made by the school were effective, with diminished radon levels appearing on testing. "Of course it's a concern, but it's nothing that we don't check for on a regular basis," said Adams. "So when we see higher levels we go in, we make sure the HVAC system is operating correctly."
Many school districts regularly conduct random sampling testing, but the EPA recommends testing every room, every year. Due to the inconsistent nature of radon appearance in buildings, it is important to be thorough in testing procedures in schools.
GraniteSchool District says they will continue to investigate the increased radon levels and take appropriate action, but to date Utah remains an unregulated state for radon testing and has yet to take official action at a state level.