North Carolina Schools and Childcare Facilities

Does North Carolina require radon testing in schools or childcare or daycare facilities? No.  North Carolina does not require radon testing or mitigation for any buildings.

Why Test for Radon in Schools and Childcare Facilities? 

The Agency for Toxic Disease Registry states on their website:

"Due to lung shape and size differences, children have higher estimated radiation doses than do adults. Children also have breathing rates faster than those of adults.

  • Risk of lung cancer in children resulting from exposure to radon may be almost twice as high as the risk to adults exposed to the same amount of radon.
  • If children are also exposed to tobacco smoke, the risk of getting lung cancer increases at least 20 times."

A nationwide survey of radon levels in schools estimates that nearly one in five has at least one schoolroom with a short-term radon level above the action level of 4 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter) - the level at which EPA recommends that schools take action to reduce the level. EPA estimates that more than 70,000 schoolrooms in use today have high short-term radon levels.

The only way to know if a building has an elevated radon level is by testing for radon. 

School is not the only place that students and teachers can be exposed to radon. Since children spend more time at home, high radon levels there can pose a much greater threat to their health.

School Testing Protocols 

Radon Mitigation Protocols for Schools and Large Buildings

EPA's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools: Managing Radon in Schools  

EPA's Radon Measurement in Schools: Revised Edition

 EPA Reducing Radon in Schools: A Team Approach 


NC School Radon Data Set

Click here to download the school testing data set

Based on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) conclusion that ". . . Schools may be a significant source of radon exposure for children and staff . . ." The Environmental Team of NC Radiation Protection Program (NCRP) conducted a pilot radon survey in 20 North Carolina schools during the summer of 1989 and again in the winter of 1990. The results of 400 measurements indicate that the radon levels in school classrooms are similar to regional radon levels found in residential surveys.

EPA has a specific testing strategy for schools If you test a school for radon you should follow these guidelines: test all frequently used rooms on and below the ground level - Because radon levels in schools have been found to vary significantly from room to room; test all frequently-occupied rooms in contact with the ground; and conduct tests in the cooler months of the year.

In 1990 and 1991, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) assisted many schools in North Carolina with purchasing radon canisters for the purpose of measuring classrooms in individual schools. However, test results were never compiled statewide by DPI. Individual schools' test results were retained by each school.

In 1997, North Carolina Radiation Protection (NCRP) retrieved most of the survey data from this previous project. In the spring of 1998, NCRP assisted with radon testing in an additional 35 school districts which had no test data. Five schools per district were tested.

Currently, survey data has been compiled from 1,102 schools, with 23,448 classrooms tested in 94 counties (at least one school per county) out of 100 counties in North Carolina.

The average radon level tested is: 1.79 pCi/l.

Based on NCRP analysis, approximately 11% of these tested classrooms had radon concentrations greater than 4 pCi/l.