LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Anchorage Independent Schools has tested for the cancer-causing gas. After tests showed levels were slightly above the EPA recommended action level they have taken action to correct failing scores.

In 2018, we sent open records requests to twenty districts in our area. We found that Anchorage Independent School had started to test in 2016 and continued test after some tests revealed elevated levels in some parts of the building.

In 2019, we checked with the district again to see if it was doing anything differently. Anchorage Independent School continued testing, checked the seals on the sump pumps and installed mitigation systems to correct failing scores. The district is self-imposing even stricter standards and conducting year-long tests in areas that scored higher than a 2.0.

Here is a summary of what we found:

  • Anchorage Public School was tested from October 2016 through March 2017. Results from five radon tests were all under 2.0 pCi/L.
  • Anchorage Public School was tested again in the fall of 2018. Of the thirty-six tests, two were slightly above the recommended action level ranging from 4.2 - 0 pCi/L.
  • In November 2018 it conducted short-term radon sampler testing of four rooms.
  • November through December 2018 installed Anchorage Public School power vents in two rooms and installed new lids and sealer on two sump pump crocks.
  • Sept. 21, 2018, through May 29, 2019, Anchorage Public School conducted long-term radon sampler testing of six rooms
  • In June 2019 it received and reviewed results from long-term radon sampler testing
  • In July 2019 Anchorage Public School scheduled a radon remediation firm to provide abatement recommendations and to perform abatement work prior to Aug. 14, 2019
  • In July 2019 it developed plans for follow-up short-term radon sampler testing of all rooms.

To contact the district about radon testing, email District Superintendent.

RECORDS:

We've included part of the records we received through open records requests to display the most pertinent data.

Anchorage Independent Schools 2016 testing

Anchorage Independent Schools 2018 testing

INFORMATION FROM THE EXPERTS:

Kentucky schools are not required to test for radon but being exposed to the average level in Jefferson County (4.0 pCi/L) is equivalent to smoking a half a pack of cigarettes a day, according to the EPA.

 Approximately 21,000 Americans die annually from radon-induced lung cancer, including people who have quit smoking or never smoked.

The EPA recommended action level is at 4 pCi/L, while the World Health Organization recommends action at 2.7 pCi/L. Both organizations are clear, no level of radon exposure is safe, especially long-term. 

Changes in the building and environment could cause changes in radon exposure levels, therefore the EPA recommends retesting every building at least every other year to make sure levels do not reach dangerous levels.

The only way to know if levels of radon gas are dangerous is to test and retest.

MORE RESOURCES:

  • Find a test kit.
  • The Jefferson County Health Department has 600 radon kits to give away. You can call 502-574-6650 or request a test online.
  • County-level infographic from Kentucky State Radon Program © University of Kentucky BREATHE
  • EPA Kentucky Radon Exposure Map
  • State resources for radon

This is part of a WHAS11 investigation into radon exposure in schools. Read the full 2018 report.

Watch the follow-up 2019 report.

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Contact FOCUS reporter John Charlton atjcharlton@whas11.com. Follow him onTwitter (@JCharltonNews) andFacebook.

Contact FOCUS producer Andrea Ash at aash@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@AndreaAshNews) and Facebook.

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