Montgomery County Council members want potential homebuyers to be provided test results for radon, an odorless gas that can cause lung cancer.
Council members Craig Rice (D-2), sponsor, and Sidney Katz (D-3), co-sponsor, wrote the bill that would require a radon test to be performed by the owner or buyer on a single-family home and the results be provided to both parties.
This bill will bring awareness to the dangers of radon and to let someone know whether they have been exposed to this, Katz said.
“We’re saying you need to do a test,” Rice said.
Test results must be performed less than a year before the house is sold.
Two tests are available for radon, Rice said.
The home-based kit can be purchased from the Home Depot or Lowe’s for between $15 and $20. The test must be placed in the lowest level of the home and left in the same spot for a week. The kit will then be mailed to a testing center, and the results will be returned.
The second test option is performed by someone who specializes in radon and costs between $300 and $350, he said.
Rice said this test is more expensive because a radon specialist comes out to do a comprehensive testing that will catch any discrepancies. If a window is open, that could affect the reading, and the person will be able to catch that.
If a home is found to have radon, it will be up to the owner and buyer as to who will pay for the test and to get rid of the radon, he said.
This is a confusing situation for people, he said. Although a home may not have radon now, it doesn’t mean that radon won’t get in or vice versa, Katz said.
Radon tends to leak through the house through cracks in the foundation or gets into houses that are settled because they are not as sealed tightly, Rice said.
“I’m concerned about the safety of the public,” Katz said.
There is no mandatory testing right now under state law.
The state law says that if a test is being done, the results must be provided to the buyer, Rice said.
Our law says, “You have to do a test,” and get those results,” he said.
If it were to be passed, it would go into effect on Oct. 1, 2016.
The council was set to vote on the bill Tuesday, but was moved to Nov. 17.