|Ryan Paris, Radon Coordinator
General number: (804) 864-8161
fax number: (804) 864-8165
Exposure to indoor radon, a colorless, odorless radioactive gas, is thought to be the second leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause of lung cancer among people who have never smoked. Exposure to radon may cause as many as 21,000 cases of lung cancer each year in the United States, including almost 700 cases per year in Virginia. The EPA classifies radon risk areas as Zones 1, 2 or 3. Virginia has 46 counties and 15 cities that are classified as Zone 1 (high risk), and 24 counties and 8 cities classified as Zone 2 (moderate risk). Testing your home, workplace or other normally occupied area is the only way to know for sure if an indoor radon problem exists. Indoor radon usually reaches its maximum concentration during the coldest winter months. The lowest livable level of the structure should always be tested because that is where the highest radon levels in the structure are typically found. Self-test kits may be obtained from commercial vendors or may be ordered. If the radon level exceeds the EPA recommended action level (4.0 pCi/L), confirmatory testing should be performed. (see our Radon Professionals webpage). There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known as a subslab suction radon reduction system, does not require major changes to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes this kind of system more effective and cost-efficient. Similar systems can also be installed in houses with crawl spaces. Radon contractors can use other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors. Radon informational brochures and documents are available at the EPA website: EPA Document Webpage.
March 31, 2015: Franklin County School District Radon Testing and Response
Virginia's Office of Radiological Health (ORH) received radon test results from the Franklin County School District for tests that were conducted in its schools and administration buildings from November 2014 through January 2015. Twenty-four areas were confirmed among all the facilities tested in the county as having levels at or exceeding the EPA's recommended Radon Action Level of 4.0 pCi/L. Two facilities were confirmed as having only a few rooms with slightly elevated readings that can likely be mitigated by adjusting the HVAC – the Stadium facility and Boones Mill Elementary School. However, at Benjamin Franklin Middle School East, 20 areas were confirmed as having levels at or above 4.0 pCi/L. The Code of Virginia requires schools to test for radon. Franklin County is designated by the EPA as a Moderate (Zone 2) radon risk area. Benjamin Franklin Middle School East was built in 1988 and services about 590 - 6th grade students. School personnel are adjusting the HVAC systems of the classrooms with elevated readings to increase ventilation by introducing more outside air. These classrooms will be retested to determine if this technique is successful. The School Superintendent plans to work with a certified radon mitigator who has experience installing large radon mitigation systems if additional remediation is necessary. ORH will continue to confer with the Local Health Director and School Superintendent to monitor retesting results and progress on mitigating the elevated radon levels, and provide additional assistance as requested. The School Superintendent's Letter to Parents, including Frequently Asked Questions, is attached here: Franklin County Parent's Letter
Questions about this matter may be directed to the Office of Radiological Health's Radon Program at (804) 864-8150 or (800) 468-0138.
September 2014: VDH has worked with Air Check, Inc to provide radon test kits at a discounted price. You can order either on-line at Radon Test Kit or print the radon test kit coupon: Radon test kit coupon
Office of Radiological Health, 109 Governor Street, 7th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219 | Telephone (804) 864-8150 | Fax: (804) 864-8155