A Bellevue woman is warning renters about the dangers of radon after she learned of dangerously high levels in her rental home.
Twice her house tested above EPA recommended limits for radon. Radon is an odorless natural radioactive gas that's known to cause lung cancer.
One in two homes in Nebraska shows high levels of radon, according the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
It's why Krystal Davis wants to use her story as a cautionary tale about the importance of asking about radon levels before renting or buying a home.
For the last nine months, Krystal Davis and her family have used the basement as a play area for their one-year-old daughter. That is until she learned the living space holds dangerous levels of radon.
"When I got the results and as soon as we got up I moved everything upstairs," said Davis.
Radon is a radioactive gas, which the Department of Health and Human Services says is responsible for more than 20,000 cancer related deaths in the country each year.
In March, two separate tests of Davis' rental turned out radon levels well above the EPA recommended limit of 4.0 pCi/L.
"The response we received from the property manager is that they have no legal responsibility to mitigate, in the state of Nebraska, that they don't have to do anything. They don't have to let us out of our lease," said Davis. "They don't have to mitigate."
"I mean you're subjecting an entire family and one-year-old baby to air that increases their risk of developing lung cancer. How is that legal? That was my response; I just couldn't believe it," said Davis.
Davis says a legal loophole means some renters will never be disclosed if their house contains high levels of radon. However, DHHS required buyers to be disclosed.
"If a property has been tested for radon as well as any other environmental hazard that we regulate those test results are to be shared with the prospective buyer at the time in interest of the sale," said Doug Gillespie with DHHS.
Eventually, the homeowner agreed to allow the Davis family to end their lease early. They plan on moving out within the next week and a half.
But Davis says this experience is pushing her advocate for tougher regulations.
"There needs to be legislation on this people need to be protected because as it is we happen to have a homeowner who was eventually willing to let us out of our lease but that's not going to be the case for all people," Davis said. "And everyone deserves a healthy environment to live in."
Davis said she's written her state senator twice, urging legislation that would protect families against radon exposure. She plans to continue advocating.