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Radon testing: A simple but important winter endeavor for schools and homeowners
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|Radon testing: A simple but important winter endeavor for schools and homeowners|
The northwestern part of the state, particularly Sussex, Warren, Morris, Somerset and Hunterdon counties, has the largest number of homes with elevated radon concentrations and sections of Mercer and Monmouth counties also have high radon levels. However, everyone should test for radon because pockets of high radon concentrations can be found in other parts of the state too.
The DEP and the EPA recommend that action be taken to mitigate if test results indicate radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter (4 pCi/L) of radon or higher. Mitigation usually entails installation of a venting system that draws the gas out of the home.
Colorless, odorless and tasteless, radon is a radioactive gas that results from the breakdown of naturally occurring uranium in soil and rock. Low levels of uranium occur widely in the Earth's crust, and can be found in all 50 states.
Radon enters buildings through openings that are in contact with the ground, such as cracks in the foundation, sump pits, and small openings around pipes. Radon decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe, which could damage lung tissue. Long term exposure can lead to lung cancer.
Radon self-test kits can be purchased from $15 to $50. Contractors generally charge between $50 and $200.
Schools must obtain testing devices from a certified business or work with a certified contractor.
Lists of New Jersey certified testing and mitigation businesses and general radon information are available at www.njradon.org or call the Radon Section Information Line at (800) 648-0394 or (609) 984-5425.
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|FYI/ NIOSH School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide CD-ROM|
A School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide CD-ROM is now available from NIOSH.
It contains the School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide, which can be found on-line at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2007-107/
It also contains a myriad of other chemical management resources for schools.
It is available by order only (currently only in single copies) at wwwn.cdc.gov/pubs/niosh.aspx#2007%20Publications