Radon in Schools
Radon Testing Plan
- School officials should follow the following key points when testing radon in their buildings.
- While radon testing is not required in Minnesota schools, it is highly recommended.
- No licensing or certification is required for testing personnel in Minnesota.
- Trained school personnel or a measurement service provider (e.g., environmental consultant) should supervise and/or conduct a radon-testing program.
- Initial tests should be made in all frequently-occupied ground contact rooms and immediately above unoccupied spaces that are in contact with the ground, such as crawl spaces and tunnels.
- Initial testing should be conducted during the coldest months (November through March), when the ventilation system is operating normally, and windows and doors are closed (except for normal exit/entry).
- School officials should determine whether short-term or long-term testing is appropriate for their needs and building operation.
- If a school official chooses to use a short-term test, the tests should be conducted when school is in session, from Monday to Thursday or Friday.
- Test kits should be shipped to the laboratory overnight on the same day as they are retrieved.
- The laboratory should analyze the test kits on the same day they are received.
- Duplicates and blanks should accompany all testing to provide assurance of the quality of the measurements.
- A single test result should not be the basis for determining if action needs to be taken to reduce radon levels.
- If the initial testing results indicate the radon level in a room is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or greater, follow-up testing is recommended using a continuous radon monitor to determine if elevated levels are present during occupied times (radon levels can fluctuate with the operation of ventilation).
- Rooms with elevated radon during occupied times should be mitigated following Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines described in “Reducing Radon in Schools: A Team Approach.”
- Radon can usually be reduced (mitigated) by adjusting the existing Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, by increasing fresh air ventilation rate and/or balancing air flow to rooms.
- Testing should be done after mitigation, to verify reduction.
- Schools should be re-tested after any renovations to the building or HVAC system.
- Schools should also be tested periodically.
- Results should be reported to Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the school board and any other interested parties.
Best Practices for Radon Measurement in Minnesota Schools and Commercial Buildings (PDF:577KB/34 pages)