Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today introduced the End Radon in Schools Act, a bill that will protect students, teachers, and school employees from high levels of radon in schools. The bill has been endorsed by the American Cancer Society. Braley worked with the American Cancer Society and the Radon Coalition, based in Iowa, to craft the legislation.
Radon is an invisible, tasteless, and odorless gas that is produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. It is a form of ionizing radiation, proven carcinogen, and it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The gas will often leak through cracks or holes in foundations or walls of buildings if not properly controlled.
All of Iowa's 99 counties are considered at a "Zone 1" risk level by the government, which indicates they have the highest potential for radon exposure in schools, homes, and other buildings. Iowa is one of only two states in the country that has a statewide "Zone 1" risk level.
"Today, I am very pleased to introduce the End Radon in Schools Act. We need to ensure that our schools are safe from unacceptable levels of this harmful gas," said Braley. "You cannot see, taste, or smell radon, but it poses a real risk to Iowans. Iowa has one of the highest levels of radon radiation in the country, and I introduced this legislation to ensure that Iowa kids, teachers and employees are safe from harmful levels of radon when they go to school."
The End Radon in Schools Act would give grants to states to work with school districts to test the radon levels in their school buildings. If the school building has an unhealthy radon level, the school would be given funding to mitigate or diminish the high radon levels. Schools awarded the grant funding would conduct the testing with the assistance of a licensed radon mitigation specialist. The school would work with a specialist to determine the best way to mitigate the school building.
Today, Braley also met with Iowa members of the American Cancer Society, as well as University of Iowa Men's Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery, to discuss his bill and other issues related to cancer research, care and prevention. A photo from today's meeting is below.
A link to the text of the End Radon in Schools Act can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/rAC9
A link to the Cancer Society Endorsement of the bill can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/rACA
A link to a high-resolution photo of Rep. Braley with Coach Fran McCaffery and other Iowa Cancer Advocates, following today's meeting, can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/repbraley/7982807951/in/photostream