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Base Radon Testing Requirements on Science

Radon is a dangerous, odorless, and radioactive gas that causes cancer, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths every year in the United States. The gas is released by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water, and can fill the air in homes by moving through gaps in a building’s foundation. Radon testing requirements are an important measure to protect households, and such requirements should be based on rigorous scientific analysis and designed to produce the best outcomes for households.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is reviewing radon testing requirements for multifamily housing units financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Specifically, FHFA is considering a nationwide policy requiring 100% inspection for ground floor units, testing a smaller percentage of units on other floors, and additional quality control testing.

BPC’s Housing Advisory Council—a group of experts focused on advancing equity and opportunity through housing—wrote a letter to the FHFA expressing concerns that such a requirement is not based on the most up-to-date science, could prove challenging and costly to implement, and could be disruptive to tenants and property owners. Before implementing testing requirements, FHFA should conduct a full investigation of the best available science and potential harms to households from new requirements.

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