A year ago radon testing found high levels of the radioactive gas radon, which can cause lung cancer, in rooms at the Whiteman Air Force Base Day Car Center. A year later, a new round of radon testing is taking place after nothing was done about the problem for a year. This is according to an article from Military.com.

In a memo sent to all Whiteman Airforce Base personnel, base officials said testing done at the child development center in early 2022 showed two rooms were found to have radon levels that needed to be remediated to reduce the radon to levels below acceptable federal levels.

Last month's audit found that the high levels of radon were not acted upon and that the child development center is now undergoing a new series of radon testing to see the current levels of radon in the building.

Radon was detected in a room used for infants between the ages of six weeks to 12 months, and in another room used for pre-toddlers ranging in age from 12 to 24 months.

According to Military.com, the radon level in the room for infants was 1.24 working level month per year, or 1.24 WLM/yr, and 6.33 WLM/yr in the room for pre-toddlers. According to the memo put out by the Air Force and mentioned by Military.com, the Air Force's exposure limit is 0.8 WLM/yr.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of lung cancer in children resulting from radon exposure may be twice as high as the risk in adults. Children exposed to tobacco smoke along with radon have a 20 times greater risk of lung cancer than those kids not exposed to tobacco smoke.

Military.com says base officials claim in a question and answer sheet provided with the memo to personnel that, "Your child's risk of developing lung cancer as a result of the exposure at the Child Development Center is significantly less than 1%."

The CDC says radon cannot be seen, smelled, or felt. The only way to evaluate exposure to increased radon gas levels is to measure the levels in your home or building you occupy. Most hardware stores have do-it-yourself radon detection kits available, or there are radon detention and remediation companies that offer the service.

The CDC says one of the most effective ways to remediate radon levels is with sub-slab depressurization. This lowers the air pressure in the soil below inside air pressure, preventing radon soil gas from seeping into a home. Most homes can undergo this process for under $2,000, which according to the CDC, "Is a cost-effective measure that may prevent radon-related health problems."

2nd Lt. Lindsey Weichel, a spokesperson for the 509th Bomb Wing, told Military.com in an email that the Air Force is vigorously investigating the possible presence of radon in the Whiteman Child Development Center and that the Air Force is implementing steps to ensure the safety of children and workers at the site while bioenvironmental engineers assess the situation, determine the current levels of radon, and if appropriate what mitigation steps are appropriate.

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