MCPS to retest classrooms at 26 schools after slightly elevated levels of radon detected

- Outraged parents voiced their concerns Tuesday night after Montgomery County Public Schools said inspectors have found slightly elevated levels of radon inside 26 schools and two education centers.

Radon is a colorless, odorless and radioactive gas that can cause cancer.

Representatives from the school system who deal with environmental issues were at Fallsmead Elementary School in Rockville answering questions from parents about the elevated radon levels.

Montgomery County Public Schools claims the radon level at Fallsmead is only slightly elevated from what the Environmental Protection Agency allows.

However, other county schools such as South Lake Elementary School in Gaithersburg and Springbrook High School in Silver Spring on the report tested at high and very hazardous levels. Some of the test results were from 2012 and no follow-up testing was done.

School officials said they didn't have answers as to why no one followed up on this and why nothing was done over the next three years.

This led to many parents at the meeting to express their displeasure over the whole issue.

“You sir have not done your due diligence, you did not come prepared and furthermore are leaving with less information than we came from,” said Britton Perry to school system officials at the meeting. “Our principal and the mothers and the people who have attended this have provided way more information than you.

“I am outraged and I'm personally very disappointed that you showed up so unprepared for something that is incredibly serious.”

“I'm sick from the mold and now I get exposed to radon and what does that hold for my future?” said Linda Crawford, a secretary at Westbrook Elementary School in Bethesda. “I'm sick enough now and now I might have lung cancer when I get older.”

Montgomery County Public Schools says the slightly elevated levels “do not present an immediate safety hazard to students and staff” and they are developing a plan to retest the 26 schools.

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