The Iowa Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill that calls for a survey of Iowa schools to see if buildings are being tested for radon contamination. Senator Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines, says Iowa has the highest concentration of the cancer-causing gas of any state in the nation.

“Data indicates that five out of seven homes have elevated radon levels in Iowa, so we’re leading the nation in levels of unsafe radon gas in our homes,” McCoy says. “It stands to reason that our school buildings are in the same kind of condition as our homes.”

McCoy has been pressing for legislation that would require schools to test for radon and take steps to rid buildings of any unsafe levels of the gas, but House Republicans balked, citing the costs districts would face if tests found unacceptably high levels of radon in school buildings.

“We’re going to be back working on this issue next year and hopefully next year we’ll be able to do the right thing,” McCoy says.

The bill calling for a survey of school districts to find out which have tested buildings for radon now goes to the governor for his approval or veto.