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Bill calls for radon-resistant homes
One legislator is proposing a bill to protect homeowners from radon. Senator Bob Krist of Omaha is proposing that all newly built Nebraska homes be radon resistant.
"Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, but it also causes cancer," said Hastings Building Inspector Mark Evans.
The toxic gas is a widespread problem across the state. Nearly 75% of the state averages dangerous concentrations of radon.
"Nebraska has a high concentration of uranium in the soil and as uranium decays it turns into several products. One of them is Radon," Evans said.
Radon moves through soil and can enter homes through cracks in the ground and walls.
"Like any other type of radiation will get into the lungs and it will break down the cells of the lungs in certain area," said South Heartland District Health Department Public Health Risk Coordinator Jim Morgan.
Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
According to the Cancer Action Network, radon causes 72 deaths in the state each year.
The city of Hastings started requiring new homes to be radon resistant back in 2011.
Hastings Building Inspector Mark Evans says this is saving lives.
"It certainly provides a high level of safety. It keeps that gas out of the home," said Evans.
The pipe used for removal is like a chimney for radon. Starting in the basement, it acts as a safe pathway to remove radon from the home.
"The fact is, the risk is there from day one, and you just want to make sure that you eliminate that risk as much as possible," Morgan said.
The bill would also require radon testing when purchasing a new home.
"So, I think it's a good tool for the public to have that. Sometimes we need a little push to get the right thing done," said Evans.
Evans says it costs about $800 to $1200 extra to build a radon resistant home.
And, it just so happens to be National Radon Awareness Month. Even if you're not in the market to build a new home, you may want to test your current one.
The South Heartland District Health Department sells short term tests for $5.
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