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The month of May is a Nielsen ratings period, which is why local television stations tout their big investigative reports at this time. You may have watched or heard about a story on radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that’s produced by decaying uranium. It’s present in nearly all soils, and very low levels of radon are found in the air we breathe every day. In higher concentrations, however, radon can pose health risks.
The TV report grabbed your attention (“Only 53 of 331 Minnesota school districts have tested for radon since 2012…”), but then only focused on the state’s 20 largest districts, of which Orono is not included. So what is the practice in Orono?
Orono Schools does test classrooms for radon. The last test was conducted October 22, 2012-April 8, 2013, and the next test will be conducted during the 2018-19 school year. All six district buildings are tested at the same time.
The amount of radon in the air is measured in picocuries per liter of air or pCi/L. The Environmental Protection Agency recommended action level is 4pCi/L. Of the 179 samples collected in 2012-13, 176 came in 0.0-1.9pCi/L and three samples at 2.0-2.99pCi/L.
For more information about safety and security in Orono Schools, please click here.
For more information about radon from the EPA, please click here.