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Researcher pushes for regulation to control exposure to cancer-causing gas

Date Published: 01/13/2020 [Source]

A University of Wisconsin researcher wants to make sure every new building in the state is proofed for radon, and he's going to legislators to make it happen.

Ryan Denu is a medical student and researcher at the university, as well as the founder of the Wisconsin Radon Coalition. He said his two proposals are similar to laws found in other states. One would require all new buildings to be constructed using radon-resistant techniques, such as thicker levels of gravel under the foundation and a piping system that would help feed the deadly gas out from under the building.

The other bill requires home sellers to provide information to the buyer on radon.

"The goal, the hope with these bills is that we're able to reduce and prevent these 500 deaths from radon-induced lung cancer every year in Wisconsin," Denu said.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that comes from Uranium in the soil. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and is especially common in the Midwest due to the geology of the region. The state has no regulation on testing for the gas, and a previous News 3 Now investigation found that most schools do not test for it.

Denu said his work with cancer patients made him realize government intervention could help prevent some of the deaths he's seen. Before his work at the state level, he said he also helped write policy on radon for the American Medical Association.

"It's very difficult to treat cancer, especially advanced lung cancer," he said. "If we have ways to prevent cancer that in a lot of cases may be the best way to go.""