Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.2 Quality of the Outdoor and Indoor Environment

5.2.9 Prevention and Management of Toxic Substances Radon Concentrations

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 05/17/2016.


Radon concentrations inside a home or building used for child care must be less than four picocuries (pCi) per liter of air. All facilities must be tested for the presence of radon, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing protocols for long-term testing (i.e., greater than ninety days in duration using alpha-track or electret test devices). Radon testing should be conducted after a major renovation to the building or HVAC system (1,2). 
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water, and gets into the air you breath. It can be found in soil, water, building materials, and natural gas. Radon from the soil is the main cause of radon problems. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into a home or building through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can get trapped inside the home or building where it can build up. In a small number of homes, the building materials can give off radon, but the materials themselves rarely cause problems. If radon is present in the water supply, most of the risk is related to radon released into the air when water is used for showering or other household purposes (1). When radon gas is inhaled, it can cause lung cancer. Radon levels can be easily measured to determine if acceptable levels have been exceeded. The risk can be reduced by lowering the levels of radon in the home or building. Fixing buildings to reduce radon exposure may entail sealing cracks in the foundation or ventilating the area under the foundation.
The average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi per liter of air, and about 0.4 pCi per liter is normally found in the outside air. Most homes today can be reduced to two picocuries per liter or below (1).

Common test kits include: charcoal canisters, e-perm, alpha track detectors, and charcoal liquid scintillation devices. To find radon resources near you, see  U.S. EPA Radon Hotlines and Information Resources or contact the National Radon Program Services.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Use of Basements and Below Grade Areas Heating and Ventilation Equipment Inspection and Maintenance Construction and Remodeling
  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2012. A citizen’s guide to radon: The guide to protecting yourself and your family from radon.
  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1993. Radon measurement in schools: Revised edition.      

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 05/17/2016.