Lytle Hall is being tested for radon. Eric Johnson, a history professor at KU, started wondering if Lytle had a radon problem in addition to its other environmental issues at the beginning of last fall.
According to the CDC, radon is an odorless, invisible and radioactive gas that is naturally released from water, soil and rocks. It can get into buildings through small cracks or holes and build up in the air. It can be dangerous because breathing in high radon levels can cause lung cancer.
Therefore, Prof. Johnson decided to purchase a digital meter and discovered that his office, located at Lytle 141, has dangerous levels of radon.
Radon levels higher than 4pCi/L are considered dangerous. Figure 1 shows Prof. Johnson’s radon meter on Jan. 27 at 10 a.m.
Johnson then reported the occurrence to the administration. On the week of Feb. 6, they brought in a contractor to test every room in the building.
The Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties (APSCUF) is currently testing a sample of the rooms. According to Prof. Johnson, the tests were improperly placed.
“They put the tests beside a window on the second floor,” said Johnson, “and I am going to be very skeptical because of this.”
A statement has since come out from Matt Santos, Vice President for University Relations and Athletics.
“The health and wellness of our campus community remains the highest priority. In regard to Lytle Hall — the building has been tested for radon. 66 of the 67 areas tested were under the PA DEP guideline of 4.0 pCi/l. The one location that tested on average just above the guideline, is a stairwell that doesn’t pose an immediate health risk, especially since this is not a high-occupancy area. Our independent experts who conducted the tests do not believe remedial action is necessary, however, we plan to test the building again at the end of the spring semester.”