By: Dan Messineo
Experts warn radon is a big in-home risk for Nebraskans. They report that almost 60% of homes in the state have high levels of radon. State Senator Bob Krist of Omaha introduced a bill that could help reduce the risks of radon by requiring all new construction in the state to be resistant to the gas. On Wednesday, the Unicameral's Health and Human Services committee is expected to hear testimony from a radon expert.
Radon naturally occurs in the soil and can seep through cracks in your home's foundation; your home then traps the gas. Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health, Dr. Joan Schaefer warns about the seriousness of radon. "Radon is radioactive. It is very damaging to your lung tissue and it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in our state," Dr. Schaefer said.
A map from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows many counties in Nebraska as having elevated levels of the dangerous gas. Officials said Dawson, Gage and Cedar counties show extremely high levels. However, officials warn even houses in counties with low radon averages can show high levels of radon. "It is important to test your home for radon because it is colorless, it is odorless, it has been linked to lung cancer and it is easily fixable in your home," Dr. Schaefer said.