FANS of Play Today
For example, our schools have been signing or resigning leases with gas and oil companies for over a decade and without any provisions for radon testing. Radon is a known carcinogen and the second leading cause of lung cancer. It is estimated to cause 21,000 deaths a year. It attacks the respiratory system and can more severely impact the health of young children. Radon can’t be seen, tasted or smelled. In fact, the only way to know if dangerous levels of radon are present is through radon testing. This is not expensive, nor is radon testing complicated. It is a chief responsibility of PA school boards to provide and maintain educationally efficient facilities and the only way to determine if a radon threat exists is to conduct independent radon testing. This needs to be addressed in all written agreements or leases for drilling on public school properties by gas and oil companies. According to Kathryn Whitfill, National PTA President, "EPA's national survey of schools produced some alarming results about concentrations (of radon gas) in our children's classrooms. Public awareness must be raised about the hazards of radon to hasten efforts to reduce the danger. All schools must be tested to determine if there is a problem, and schools must inform parents of the results. We cannot ignore this problem." This problem can be further complicated by the COVID-19 virus and its variants which can pose a threat to respiratory systems and unfortunately, radon gas cannot be efficiently filtered by masks or ventilation systems. However, the good news is that radon can be cost-effectively removed through radon reduction systems, if necessary. Finally, according to Keith Geiger, an NEA President, “All students have the right to expect a safe and healthy environment. Teachers and other school employees should encourage their schools to conduct radon tests and undertake all necessary corrective actions. The health of our children demands no less."
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