Braley Introduces Amendment to Rid Schools of Unhealthy Radon Levels

Jul 16, 2013 Issues: Education

Continues effort to en threat of radon gas in schools, amendment modeled on Braley’s End Radon in Schools Act

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today introduced an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to end the threat of radon gas in America’s schools. This is a continuation of Braley’s legislative efforts to address the danger of radon gas in schools in Iowa and across the country.

“Iowa has one of the highest levels of radon radiation in the country, but you can’t see, taste or smell it so it’s a dangerous, yet invisible threat,” Braley said. “Testing is the only way to know if a school has dangerous levels of radon, and that’s why I’ve introduced this amendment to ensure that students, teachers, and school employees are protected from harmful levels of this dangerous gas and health risks associated with it.

The amendment would protect students, teachers, and school employees from dangerous levels of radiation in schools. It adds radon testing and mitigation in schools as an eligible use of funds in the proposed Local Academic Flexible Grant program. It also adds student health as one of the purposes of the overall grant program.

Braley’s amendment is modeled on the End Radon in Schools Act, which he first introduced in September 2012 and reintroduced in January 2013. The legislation would give states in high-risk radon areas grants to fund tests of radon levels in school buildings.  If a school is found to have an unhealthy level of radon, the school would be given funding to remove the threat. This End Radon in Schools Act has been endorsed by the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association.

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, a proven carcinogen, and it is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in the United States.  The gas can leak through cracks or holes in foundations or walls of buildings if not properly controlled.

All of Iowa’s 99 counties are classified in the “Zone 1” risk level by the Environmental Protection Agency, the highest risk level assigned by the agency.  Iowa is the only state other than North Dakota to have the “Zone 1” risk level for all of its counties.

Full text of the amendment can be downloaded at the following link: