December 2018
Dear Abington School Community,
The Abington Public Schools, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, is taking advantage of the opportunity to conduct voluntarily testing for elevated levels of radon in our school buildings. We are not required to do this testing and nothing has come to our attention to cause us to be concerned. We simply do not want to miss the opportunity to evaluate radon levels and mitigate if needed, in order keep our students and staff as safe as possible. Additionally, this is also an opportunity to raise public awareness in the community with regard to radon gases that may be present in your homes.     
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. Most people receive the largest part of their exposure to radon while at home. In fact, about one fourth of the homes in Massachusetts have radon concentrations at or above the EPA Action Guide of 4 picocuries per Liter of air (pCi/L). 
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health will be placing the detectors and conducting the radon testing. Radon gases are emitted through the ground, therefore, in the coming days and weeks, we intend to test every frequently occupied room which is in contact with the ground. Classrooms, offices, and the like are considered frequently occupied while storage rooms and lavatories are not usually tested. In our case, we have decided to test some storage rooms because their use might change over time. Most rooms will have only one detector; some rooms will have more than one. The radon detectors being used are called liquid scintillation detectors. It’s basically a small white plastic vial about 2 ½ inches tall by about 1 inch wide. It will have a bar coded serial number on the outside. Inside the vial is a smaller plastic vial with a small amount of charcoal inside. There is nothing hazardous or toxic in the detector. Students and staff will be asked to not move or tamper with the vials, as this may impact the validity of the testing.
We should have the results within a few weeks after the tests are completed. The results will be reviewed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and they will be made available to anyone interested as soon as possible. We will find radon in the buildings, since radon is everywhere. If we find concentrations of concern, then further investigation, by a certified measurement and/or mitigation specialist will occur. Most tested schools in Massachusetts have not had radon problems. On the other hand, some have and once identified, the radon levels can be reduced. However, we’ll never know unless we conduct the tests.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Lisa Hébert at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at (800) 723-6695 x 3185 ( or Felicia Moschella, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance at (781) 982-2150 ( ).
Peter Schafer
Superintendent of Schools