Senator Karla Bigham Introduces Bipartisan Plan to Toughen Radon Testing in Public Schools
St. Paul, Minn. – Senator Karla Bigham (DFL-Cottage Grove) today introduced a bipartisan plan that would establish radon testing requirements for all public schools in Minnesota (Senate File 4077). The plan is in response to a new KARE11 investigation that found only 53 of 331 school districts in Minnesota have tested classrooms for radon since 2012, which could put students, teachers, and other school staff at a bigger risk of developing lung cancer.
“According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor radon exposure causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year,” said Sen. Bigham. “The plan I am introducing puts in place concrete reforms to protect kids from radon exposure while at school, ensuring they can grow up and live healthier lives.”
Sen. Bigham’s bipartisan plan is co-authored by Republican Senators Justin Eichhorn of Grand Rapids and Mark Johnson of East Grand Forks. DFL Senators listed as co-authors include Susan Kent of Woodbury and Chuck Wiger of Maplewood.
If signed into law, the plan would require the commissioners of the state health and education departments to jointly develop a plan to require public school districts to “accurately and efficiently” test for the presence of radon. In addition, the plan requires school districts to include radon testing as part of districts’ 10-year facility plans. Results of radon testing would be made available to the public at school board meetings. The plan would go into effect for the 2019-2020 school year if approved by state lawmakers and Governor Dayton.