In 2015, the Oregon Legislature passed a law requiring all school districts to develop a plan for radon testing in all of its buildings. Accordingly, the David Douglas School District has developed a state-approved plan and has begun implementing its testing program.
The health and safety of our students and staff is among the District’s highest priorities. Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas emitted by soil, but can become trapped and build up in poorly ventilated buildings. Because radon at long-term exposures is known to cause cancer, the District is committed to testing for its presence in our schools.
The District has begun its testing program, identifying rooms in buildings that are in contact with soil or over a crawlspace, where radon might expect to be found. Radiation is measured in Curies. Because radon is a radioactive gas, it is measured in picocuries, which is one-trillionth of a Curie. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends reducing the concentration of radon in indoor environments to less than 4 picocruries per liters of air (pCi/L).
All schools are tested every ten years, per Oregon law.
If the test shows between 4-8 pCi/L, the District will perform a follow up measurement using a long-term test. If that result is above 4 pCi/L, the District will investigate options for lowering the levels of radon in that room.
If the initial test shows levels greater or equal to 8 pCi/L, the District will conduct a second short-term test within a month, and the two tests will be averaged together. If the average shows levels higher than 4 pCi/L, the District will investigate options for lowering the levels of radon in that room.
Some options for lowering the level of radon in a given area include adjustments to HVAC systems, soil depressurization, sealing entry routes, building pressurization, and/or site specific installation of ventilation devices.
The District began testing in November, 2017 with buildings on the high school campus and North Powellhurst. Initial testing will continue districtwide through 2020, per Oregon law. Results are being posted on our website as they are returned. View the complete districtwide testing schedule and test results here.