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Ventura County Roundup | East County / SIMI VALLEY

School Takes Steps to Remove Radon

November 24, 1998|TONY LYSTRA

After discovering low levels of radon at Simi Elementary School last spring, school officials are embarking on a plan to remove the potentially dangerous gas from several rooms.

In March, a student's science project detected the radioactive gas, which is found in rock and soil and can cause damage to lung tissue and even lung cancer if its byproducts are inhaled.

Six rooms at Simi Elementary--including two classrooms--show low levels of the gas, said Lowell Schultze, assistant superintendent for the Simi Valley Unified School District.

School officials said that although the radon levels are relatively safe, the district is taking steps to stop the odorless gas from entering the school's rooms.

The district hired a consulting firm, Radon Detection Systems of Boulder, Colo., to provide a plan to remove the gas.

The firm tested rooms for radon in March and, from May through the summer, did more testing to see how weather and other factors influenced radon levels, Schultze said.

Solutions will probably include sealing cracks and openings around plumbing under the school, improving insulation and installing a ventilation system below the school's floor that will push radon emissions through a stack that extends through the ceiling.

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