New homes and businesses constructed in Powell will be required to mitigate a cancer-causing gas that's prevalent in Ohio.

Powell City Council on June 19 unanimously approved legislation that requires new construction to be equipped with radon-mitigation systems.

Powell's code now lines up with the International Code Council's residential requirements.

The council is a nonprofit organization aimed at developing comprehensive national construction codes.

Existing homes and businesses are not affected by the change to city code.

"This issue was studied for several months by the city's operations committee and they have unanimously recommended it to council," said Steve Lutz, city manager.

The new standards will call for a "passive" sub-slab depressurization system. Costlier "active" systems are available that include a blower fan and require electrical service at the vent pipe.

The systems are expected to cost builders about $750 at the time of installation, Lutz said.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally from uranium and radium found in rocks and soil, according to the Ohio Department of Health. It enters buildings through the floor, walls, utility openings and foundation cracks.

Radon is a known carcinogen and is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, according to the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General.

Elevated levels of radon have been found in each of the state's 88 counties, and the department of health recommends all homeowners test for radon.

Dublin, Pickerington and Union County have similar legislation.

The next meeting of Powell City Council scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 5, at the Village Green Municipal Building, 47 Hall St.