Iowa Senate votes for mandatory radon testing in schools

Exposure to radon can cause serious health problems. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it's the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, and is responsible for about 21,000 deaths each year. With this in mind, it's essential to take proper precautions to ensure that the hazardous gas isn't present in homes, schools and other buildings across the United States. 

On March 20, the Iowa Senate voted 37-13 to require public and private schools to test for radon and install systems designed to get rid of the gas if it leaks into the buildings. Additionally, residential construction companies would have to include pipes for removing radon in all homes built from January 1, 2015 forward.

Eastern Iowa news source, The Gazette, states that opponents of the bill cited the significant amount of money that it would cost schools to comply with the potential new law as one of the main reasons they don't support it. But bill sponsor Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, noted that he thinks it's a logical response to the 400 deaths in Iowa each year due to radon exposure.

"There are times when government really needs to step in and mandate something," said McCoy. "When something is causing cancer and killing individuals, in most cases unbeknownst to them, I think we have an obligation to make sure that when new construction occurs that we're taking these minimum steps."

If you want to have your home checked out, you may want to reach out to a home inspection contractor. These professionals can conduct radon testing at your current property and determine if you are safe. Additionally, it's essential to get a house inspected before you buy it, since it's impossible for the untrained eye to pick up on these kinds of hazards.