Dangerous levels of radon found in 28 MCPS schools

MCPS radon levels (ABC7)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (ABC7) -- A substance linked to cancer has been detected in dangerous amounts inside dozens of Montgomery County classrooms.

According to a five-page report obtained by ABC7 News, 28 of MCPS' 205 schools have dangerous radon levels.

Radon is an odorless, tasteless gas that often seeps into buildings through cracks in the foundation. Because it can cause lung cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says radon shouldn't top four picocuries per liter (pCi/l).

Redland Middle School in Derwood registered 6 pCi/l. South Lake Elementary School in Gaithersburg landed 9.6 pCi/l. Springbrook High School in Silver Spring was marked at 9.8 pCi/l. But the whopper of them all, the Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center in Rockville, which emitted 11.9 pCi/l of radon. That is nearly three times the EPA safety limit.

"Eleven, eleven is high, that's a danger level," said James Keilson, a certified master radon tester and instructor with Maryland Home Inspection Services, Inc. Keilson who's been in business for 30 years, was surprised by the numbers.

"These are high levels. I mean [if it were] my kids, I wouldn't allow them into this building or at least the rooms that were tested to be at this level," Keilson remarked while reviewing the testing report.

When asked for comment, an MCPS spokesman said the school system takes radon seriously and added that it's now planning to re-test problem classrooms. He did not say whether-or-not parents with children at schools with high levels of radon had been made aware of the issue.

Below is a list of schools tested for radon:

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