Take Action During National Radon Month
February 15, 2011 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
January is National Radon Action month. The bulk of the focus of detection and prevention efforts has been on residential properties, largely due to the research focusing on this property type. But this doesn't mean that commercial properties are off the hook. Schools, with their very vulnerable populations, need to also take heed, as well as dormitories, office buildings and any other facility with a significant amount of contact with the soil.
Radon, a radioactive, odorless, colorless and naturally occurring gas, is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America, killing about 20,000 people each year, according to the EPA.
According to the EPA, three factors must be present for radon to become a problem in your facility: the presence of radon, a breach in the building’s envelope that gives the gas an entrypoint, and something to draw or drive the radon gas through that entry point.
Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The EPA action level for radon is 4 pCi/L. That level or higher requires urgent action. Levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L mean repairs should be considered. According to the EPA, the average indoor radon level is about 1.3 pCi/L in the United States. The average outdoor level is about 0.4 pCi/L.
A report which gives information of radon measurement firms in your area can be found from your State randon office or from your EPA regional office. State radon contact information can also be found at http://www.epa.gov/radon/whereyoulive.html
For additional information on radon and commercial buildings from the EPA, go to http://www.epa.gov/iaq/largebldgs/baqtoc.html