Radon level found safe at Crofton Middle School Janitor's warnings lead county to conduct tests

October 09, 1997|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

Radon levels at Crofton Middle School are normal -- despite calls from a distraught janitor warning of big problems -- according to a test completed by the county operations department this week.

Crofton Middle, in the 2300 block of Davidsonville Road, is the only school in the county to have tested positive for radon.

On Sept. 29, Michael W. Graham, the head janitor, made telephone calls to a number of school system employees warning about radon danger.

The next day, Daniel A. La Hart, environmental program manager for Anne Arundel County schools, put 63 radon-sampling canisters in the school.

The average amount of radon throughout the school building was measured at 0.92 picocuries per liter of air, he said yesterday. The highest reading in one room was 3.5 picocuries, and the lowest was zero. The room with the highest reading will be retested, La Hart said.

The highest reading hovers near the danger zone. At 4 picocuries, the federal Environmental Protection Agency recommends that the radon be mitigated, said Kristy L. Miller, an EPA spokeswoman. The national average for a room is 1.25 picocuries, she said.

The gas, which is a byproduct of decaying radium that leaks into buildings through cracks in foundations, is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke, and can be reduced by heavy ventilation.

La Hart was not available yesterday afternoon to say from which room the highest reading came. In the past, however, rooms with the most radon were the media center and classroom LA2.

Principal Richard Berzinski declined comment.

Pub Date: 10/09/97

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