Academic journal article Human Ecology

Fact Sheet on Radon in Schools Advises Parents and Administrators

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Fact Sheet on Radon in Schools Advises Parents and Administrators

Article excerpt

IT HAS BECOME FAIRLY commonplace for homeowners to test their houses for radon, the colorless, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas that seeps from the ground and can cause lung cancer. But schools, where a child can spend 14,000 hours by the time of high school graduation, often are overlooked, two Human Ecology housing experts report.

"Children in schools are particularly vulnerable to radon's effects," says Joseph Laquatra, associate professor of design and environmental analysis, who has published numerous articles on the dangers of radon in housing. "Children are more sensitive to air pollution than adults. They breathe more air relative to their bodyweight and are more likely to breathe through their mouths than adults, which bypasses the nasal cavity's protective functions."

Radon is a short-lived radioactive element belonging to the group of noble gases and results from the decay of radium and other radioactive elements. It occurs naturally, particularly in areas with underlying granite.

Laquatra and Lorraine Maxwell, also an associate professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, have published a fact sheet on radon in schools to provide guidance and advice to parents and administrators who want to get their schools tested. …

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