Bacon: Tools for schools to combat radon exposure

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Friday, March 29, 2019 4:30 pm

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 50 percent of Indiana’s counties have dangerously high rates of radon gas. Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive, odorless gas formed by radium decay in soil. Because radon is commonly found in homes and schools, I am sponsoring legislation that would require the Indiana State Department of Health to work with schools and provide important information to help better manage their air quality.

The ISDH has studied the dangers of radon exposure and offers an air-quality manual for school officials to use when considering preventative measures. Under the bill, ISDH will be required to revise and distribute the manual to schools every three years, providing information on how to keep air clean and how to test for radon. Radon has been found in both new and old buildings on various types of land, but can only be detected through specific tests. If radon is found, the manual provides appropriate steps to keep students and faculty safe.

Radon has become the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States for non-smokers. Since radon usually builds up in the foundation of homes and schools, testing the air-quality is a simple and effective way to detect it. Unfortunately, only 10 Indiana schools have tested for radon in the past 10 years, which is a mere 4 percent of all Hoosier schools.

To see if there are traces of radon in homes, at-home test kits are usually available at local hardware stores and cost about $20, or a professional inspection can be scheduled. The EPA and ISDH both provide information about risks of radon, which can be found at www.epa.gov/radon.

To learn more about Indiana radon exposure and safety precautions, visit radonresources.com/directory/in. As always, I encourage you to share your thoughts and feedback on this legislation as it moves through the process. Contact me with any input or questions at h75@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9643.

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State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75, 
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

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