Radon Testing

Radon Testing at Minneapolis Public Schools

Radon Testing at Minneapolis Public Schools

Many people have rightly question how MPS tests for and manages radon after seeing KARE11’s investigative story about radon in schools. MPS schools are safe to attend as we annually conduct a comprehensive radon management program.

Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause significant health problems. According to the EPA, the gas is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air we breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. in any type of building — homes, offices, and schools — and result in a high indoor radon level.

The EPA requires action to be taken when radon levels are above 4 pCi/L. While there is no safe level of radon exposure, the average indoor radon level at any location is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L, and about 0.4 pCi/L of radon is normally found in the outside air.

To keep our students and staff safe, and because district leadership has placed a high priority on wellness initiatives — including radon testing — MPS initiated a radon testing program in 2017.

Six schools tested in 2017 all had levels below the EPA Action Level. Previously, MPS buildings were tested in 1996. Our plan is to test 15 schools per year, and have a 5-year rotation for retesting. In Minnesota, it is best to perform radon testing between November 1 and March 31 and samples are set up to run for 90 days.

We have created an FAQ to help answer questions about how MPS tests for and manages radon. If you have additional questions, please contact Lee Setter, Manager for Environmental Health and Safety, at Lee.Setter@mpls.k12.mn.us or 612.668.0308.