Kenyon College is located in a portion of Ohio that, like many parts of the U.S., contains uranium in its bedrock. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rocks and water, and is commonly found in the air we breathe every day. Though radon is common in the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency has set guidelines that recommend limiting long-term exposure to high concentrations of radon.
In late November 2022, a student reported elevated levels of radon in a student apartment based on a self-administered test. The College immediately contracted an Ohio Department of Health–licensed inspector to test similar student apartments.
Of the 47 apartment units tested, 43 yielded results showing elevated radon levels (greater than 4.0 pCi/L). While there were outlier results, the median concentration among elevated levels was 24.15 pCi/L.
The College has engaged the services of environmental and industry experts to assist us in developing a comprehensive testing, abatement and remediation plan. Testing of the remaining student and faculty residences will take place as quickly as possible, followed by testing of all other occupied buildings.
Any building that yields elevated test results will be assessed to determine the most effective remediation. Radon mitigation is fairly straightforward and may include sealing cracks in building foundations, installing ventilation systems or adapting existing ones. As an additional measure, the College is working with its radon remediation consultant to develop a cycle for routine radon testing and system maintenance.
The effects of radon are associated with long-term exposure. The College is nonetheless working as quickly as possible to address the situation. For more information about radon, please visit the EPA or the Ohio Department of Health websites.