Radon Inspection For Schools
Radon Inspection for Schools
“Ensure the safety of your students & faculty by testing for radon at least once every three years”
Schools and administrators across East-Central Illinois trust Callaway & Associates year after year when inspecting & testing for elevated radon levels in their buildings. We take this role very seriously as the potential future safety of their students are at risk. We provide the highest quality radon inspections for schools in the greater Champaign County area to allow building administrative team to know your students & faculty’s exposure to the harmful gas is reduced.
Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally occurring and comes from the decay of uranium found in ground rock & soil. As it breaks down into particles, it can become trapped in your lungs as you breathe in an area near the radon particles. As they continue to decay inside your lungs, they release small bursts of radiation. As you probably already know, the human body can handle moderate levels of radiation, but will usually lose the battle when exposed to consistent levels over the course of a lifetime.
Children are even more prone to radioactive sensitivity. Their bodies have not fully developed and are in the process of growing and developing. With this, they are less equipped than an adult to fight off short burst or long gradual exposure to radiation, especially if it is introduced into their everyday life.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, making it impossible to find without proper inspection & testing equipment. Known as a carcinogen for humans, radon can be extremely dangerous if exposed to increased levels over the course of a lifetime or even as short as a few months. Radiation from decaying radon in a person’s lungs has been linked to the second highest cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking. Radon annually kills over half as many people as drunk driving accidents, and accounts for more deaths than drownings or fires combined annually.
Radon Testing in Schools
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that over 19% of schools across the United States have elevated radon levels higher than the suggested safe amounts present. Any home or building with higher than 4 pCi/L of radon is considered to be “action level”; meaning, action should be taken to perform radon mitigation services on the building. Ideal levels of radon are at or around 0.4 pCi/L as these are consistent with outdoor levels of radon, and is unrealistic to reduce exposure any future than naturally occurring radon outdoors.
There are a few factors why some schools experience elevated levels of radon & others do not. These include:
- The concentration of radon in the soil below the school building
- The structure/construction layout of the school
- Effectiveness of the HVAC system throughout the school
With these, we have a great place to start when determining why certain schools may face a tougher battle reducing higher radon levels.
Concentration of Radon in Soil Under School
The soil below a school has many different characteristics, some of which are radon concentration & density. In addition, how mobile the gas within the soil? Is it able to move relatively easily up & through the soil? Or is the soil so densely packed that radon gas is mostly contained within?
How Radon Gas Enters School Buildings
When radon enters a school building, it is almost always through crawl spaces, utility tunnels or basements built on adjoining floor slabs. The radon gas will usually leak through the floor expansion joints in the slabs and gather within a basement, crawl space, or utility tunnel. This is one of the first places we check to see if these locations are being easily penetrated by elevated radiation through radon exposure.
Why HVAC System Matters for Radon Levels in Schools
One of the best ways (without radon mitigation) to reduce radon gas density is to improve the ventilation of your school’s HVAC system. Once radon gas is allowed to enter through the ground between the floor joints, if it is then further allowed to dwell in one location, any person in that location for extended periods of time is at a great exposure and risk to the dangerous gas. A good HVAC system will continually bring in air from outside and cycle it through all areas of the school, not allowing radon gas to sit & dwell in any area for too long.
Callaway & Associates provides top quality Radon Inspection Services for Schools in the following communities in Champaign County and East-Central Illinois.
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