THE DANGERS OF RADON EXPOSURE: Are You Placing Your Child at Risk?

Radon, a radioactive and odorless gas that cannot be seen, causes cancer.  People might be surprised to know that everyone inhales radon daily, but mostly at low levels.  At high levels, the gas is not only known to cause cancer, but many doctors and health professionals attribute exposure to radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, as reported by Alexandra Bahou in an ABC News 2007 article .   The National Cancer Institute also attributes Radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer and provides invaluable information on their website.

Unless testing is conducted to determine radon levels in the home, school, and workplace, radon gas exposure can be fatal over time.  There have been several reports throughout the country where radon gas levels have been measured at high, unhealthy levels in US Public Schools, as noted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  However, testing these public school grounds for this toxic gas is not yet routine, resulting in unnecessary exposure to this harmful gas at high levels.  The reason for this lack of testing is the Federal Government’s failure to regulate radon exposure.  The EPA has been unable to secure congressional support of a federal law making radon testing mandatory in public schools.  As of now, Congress has yet to authorize the EPA to regulate indoor air quality, which is the root cause of the lack of regulation in this area.  Furthermore, there are administrative burdens to carrying out radon testing, as noted in an article posted by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Radiation Protection.  In the public school arena, the administrative costs are burdensome for logistical reasons as well.  For example,  the testing must be completed in winter months in school buildings, and cannot be conducted in the hot spring, fall, and summer months.  The reason testing must be conducted during the winter season is the soil must be cooled at the time of testing.  The cooling process causes the soil to tighten up, which in turn allows the gas to escape into and throughout the campus buildings, allowing it to be accurately detected and therefore, measured.

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