High Levels of Radon Found at Lexington School

High levels of radon have been found at one Fayette County public school and district is planning an emergency fix during winter break.
 
The school district said radon levels at the Locust Trace Agriscience Center are either below four picocuries per liter, the recommended level by the environmental protection agency, or just above.
 
But about a year ago the district said levels were close to 50 picocuries per liter.
 
The technical high school is designed as a net-zero energy building, producing as much energy as it uses each year.
 
While the school was applying to be a ‘green school’ high levels of radon were discovered in parts of the building.
 
School leaders said they’ve been adjusting by pumping in fresh air through the heating and air conditioning unit but now a more extensive radon mitigation system needs to be installed.
 
“We just want to be sure that we are being extra cautious and taking care of the issue now and seeing that, for the long term, that we have a healthy building,” said Mary Wright, FCPS chief operating officer.
 
Wright said none of the 250 students at the school have complained of being sick.
 
According to the EPA, radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that’s found in soil and can move into buildings through cracks in the foundation.
 
“I wouldn’t panic,” said Dr. Ellen Hahn, a University of Kentucky professor and the director of the clean indoor air partnership.  “Radon is one of those things that is dangerous but it takes years and years for people to develop lung cancer.”
 
FCPS is planning to install the new radon mitigation at the school during winter break.
It will cost about $50,000 and school officials said the money will come from a fund set aside for building problems.
School leaders said the high levels of radon have nothing to do with the building’s net-zero structure.

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