Oregon law now requires school districts to conduct radon testing in their buildings in order to protect children and school staff from long-time exposure to the gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking. Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil and rock. It has no smell or taste, and it cannot be seen, but it is found throughout Oregon and in all different types of buildings.
Bethel School District conducted its testing in November and December 2020, which involved the placement of small devices in each of the frequently occupied rooms in contact with the ground. The EPA has established 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) as the action level for radon. The law does not require schools to reduce radon levels if they exceed the EPA action level. However, elevated radon levels in schools can often be reduced quickly with changes in ventilation.
Tthe results of Bethel’s radon testing are listed below. All areas indicating elevated levels of radon are scheduled to be re-tested.