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Friday, March 6th by Curt Drew
Omaha Sen. Bob Krist proposed a bill that could help combat Nebraska’s high radon levels. He presented the Radon Resistant New Construction Act to the Health and Human Services Committee on February 27.
If passed, "[The bill] sets up a task force which will work on the issue of radon-resistant construction standards over the next year and then make recommendations back to us in the legislature in December," Krist told Channel 8 KLKN-TV Eyewitness News, Nebraska’s local ABC news affiliate.
Curtis Drew, president of National Radon Defense, spoke with Channel 8 Eyewitness News about the importance of this bill. "Nebraska needs this legislation because we're at risk, much higher risk than a lot of those other states I named," Drew said. Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that comes from the soil and enters the home.
Nebraska has the third highest radon exposure in the US. A map compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services shows that 72 of the 93 counties in the state are testing at radon concentration levels above 4 picocuries per liter, or pCi/L.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking action if testing shows a radon level at 4 pCi/L or higher. According to the National Cancer Institute, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Radon is cited as the cause of nearly 22,000 cancer-related deaths in the US every year.
The legislation proposed by Sen. Krist recommends new construction regulations requiring homes to have built-in radon mitigation systems. The bill needs to pass to general file before it can be debated on the legislative floor.