DES MOINES, Iowa — After more than a decade of advocacy, and two years after her death, Gail Orcutt was victorious this week as the bill that she championed to protect Iowa children from radon poisoning became law. House File 2412, better known as the Gail Orcutt School Radon Safety bill, was signed into law this week by Governor Reynolds. The bill requires schools to test for radon and develop a mitigation plan if unsafe levels are found.
The measure was first introduced at the legislature a decade ago, thanks to the passionate advocacy of Gail Orcutt. Orcutt was a former teacher who developed lung cancer, though she never smoked. She learned that radon may be to blame for her cancer. Iowa leads the nation in the presence of the colorless, odorless gas. It is produced as radioactive materials, like uranium, breakdown deep beneath the soil. The gas can leach into homes and businesses through basements.
The bill signed into law this week creates strict requirements for school districts to ensure they are mitigating radon and not allowing students to be exposed in the classroom for hours on end.
Gail Orcutt passed away on May 19th, 2020 at the age of 67. Her husband, Bill Orcutt, carried on her mission of passing the radon safety bill. He told us in March that it would be a “very, very happy day” when Gail’s bill became law.