Iowa Public Radio spoke with Senator Matt McCoy, a radon–induced lung cancer survivor and a member of the Iowa Association of School Boards about radon testing in Iowa Schools.
As detailed in our radio segment, a bill was proposed in Iowa that would require schools to test for radon ever two years. If the schools fail the test twice, they would have to install radon remediation systems.
An article from The Gazette examines why there are no guidelines or mandates for radon testing in Iowa’s schools.
Radon is a major problem in Iowa where levels of the gas far exceed the national average. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, leading to the death of 21,000 each year, including 400 Iowans. The gas rises from the soil and enters buildings through openings in floors and walls.
Despite its danger, many Iowa schools haven’t tested for radon in decades. This is mainly because it’s costly to test for radon, and even more costly to mitigate the gas.
Houses around the country are increasingly built with energy-efficiency in mind, but many people don’t realize that these measures can lead to higher in-home radon levels. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, accounting for the death of 21,000 Americans every year. New homes are typically built with tight seals in order to make them energy efficient. These tight seals don’t prevent the radon from entering, but do prevent it from escaping. KCRG-TV reports that this is a pertinent issue for Iowans as Iowa has the highest radon concentration in the U.S.:
Increasing numbers of Iowans are testing their homes for radon — an encouraging sign, advocates say. Yet radon levels have increased across much of Iowa as people place a greater value on tightly sealed, energy-efficient homes at the expense of indoor air quality. Radon still enters those homes through the ground, but it doesn’t escape.
“There are more homes now in need of radon mitigation than there were in the past,” said Bill Field, a University of Iowa researcher and author of several key studies linking radon and lung cancer. Continue reading →