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Statements from EPA, Congress about radon report

In addition to obtaining a statement from the EPA, Rossen Reports reached out to the chairs and ranking members of environmental committees, asking why Congress has not done more about radon testing in public schools. Rep. Fred Upton, Rep. Henry Waxman and Sen. James Inhofe responded with statements.

EPA statement:
“EPA strives to reduce children's risks from radon exposure at home and in school. While the most significant possible risks are at home, where kids and families spend most of their time, radon can be a concern at school as well. EPA strongly recommends that both homes and schools are tested for radon, and that action is taken when high levels are found.

The good news is that if high levels of radon are detected, the solutions are practical, effective, and affordable.

Although EPA and the federal government are facing difficult budget challenges, EPA will continue the fight against radon exposure. Radon is a significant and preventable public health risk, and testing for radon and reducing high levels are important steps everyone should take to protect the health of their family. Along with leading joint federal efforts to reduce radon exposure, EPA will continue to work with states on testing for radon, addressing high levels in homes and schools, and building radon-resistant homes and schools.”

Statement from the spokesman for Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce:
“To help identify the potential for radon exposure risk in classrooms, EPA has established online tools that are available to schools all across the country. The prevalence of radon is influenced by soil chemistry and geology, which means the risk is greater in some states than others. That helps explain why different states have taken different approaches. According to a February 2011 report by the Environmental Law Institute, more than 40 states have laws or regulations related to radon. Any school that is concerned about a potential radon risk should take steps to protect their students – that includes testing to identify exposure levels, sealing foundation cracks, and ensuring adequate ventilation and fresh air circulation.”

Statement from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce:
“Indoor air pollution is an invisible environmental threat. Radon and other indoor air pollutants can cause serious health risks. But EPA has little authority to take even basic steps like requiring disclosure of known threats or certifying abatement contractors. Schools with high levels of radon can increase cancer risks and should be a high priority for action. Unfortunately, efforts to address these threats ground to a halt when Republicans took control of Congress.”

Statement from Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works:
“I appreciate NBC for bringing forward concerns about the lack of oversight of EPA's latest action on radon testing — this is an issue that may warrant a hearing. In fact, it now appears from the president's latest budget that the Obama-EPA is eliminating funding for their State Indoor Radon Grant Program which helps fund State and Tribal radon programs the agency itself describes as ‘critical to the Agency's goal of minimizing and preventing radon-related lung cancer.’ Meanwhile, issues like global warming — which have no effect on public health — have taken up too much of the Obama Administration's focus and federal dollars, leaving many more legitimate issues on the sideline. Today with our limited budget, it is important that we prioritize taxpayer dollars on issues that actually are a threat to our children and grandchildren.”