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GHS radon testing to begin with heating season

Guilderland High School will be screening for elevated levels of radon as a result of preliminary tests last spring, but classesl will go uninterrupted, according to district officials.

The previous testing was done as part of a routine air-quality check in accordance with the district's health and safety program.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommended that the district wait until the current heating season began to conduct the rest of the tests, according to information provided by the district.

"The testing definitely will not interfere with the educational program at all," said Amy Zurlo, communications specialist for the Guilderland Central School District, on Monday, Dec. 15. "We will be finishing up later early this week."

The school initially measured only slightly more than 4 picocuries per liter in the air according to a June 12 letter to parents in the district. Radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter or more are suggested for mitigation by the Surgeon General and the EPA.

The amount was not enough to warrant a relocation of any personnel, however.

"Radon is a radioactive noble gas that comes from the decay of radium in the soil. Radon is a colorless, odorless, invisible gas that can only be detected through the use of proper equipment and protocols. Chronic exposure to elevated levels of radon has been linked to an increased incidence of lung cancer in underground miners," according to information from the state Department of Health.

In coordination with the state Department of Health, the district has testing devices in place for the high school as well as the maintenance and transportation departments.

They have all been mapped for locations, and canisters have been purchased from the Department of Health, according to information provided by the school district.

They cost $3.50, reduced from the normal $12, as a result of an EPA grant, Zurlo said.

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