Date Published: 02/21/2020 [Source]
The Housing Authority in Huntsville, Alabama is facing backlash after it found dangerous levels of radon gas in public housing units and failed to tell tenants.
Sources say the Huntsville Housing Authority conducted radon tests in the Butler Terrace Addition back in fall 2019. Those tests revealed that more than 60 units had high levels of radon, a radioactive gas that can cause cancer. Officials with the housing authority recently confirmed that they did not tell tenants about the radon levels.
Sandra Eddlemon, the agency's executive director, said in a statement to AL.com that officials did not want to alarm residents until a plan to fix the issue was in place. She also stated that the housing authority is working with a contractor to fix the problem, and that vacant units with high levels of radon are not being filled. According to waff.com, the housing authority also admitted that radon levels in that complex hadn't been tested since the 1990s.
The Huntsville Housing Authority's Board of Directors will hold a meeting on Monday, March 2 at 12 p.m., which will be open to the public.
Radon is a naturally-occurring gas that is produced when certain elements break down in soil, rock, and water. This gas is released into the air and can seep into your home through cracks and openings. Radon is an invisible gas with no smell and no taste, which makes it difficult to tell how much of it is in a certain area.
Breathing in high levels of radon can cause numerous health issues. One of the most serious ones is lung cancer, which happens when radon damages cells in the lungs. Early signs of lung cancer include a persistent cough, wheezing, and chest pain when coughing or laughing. Exposure to high levels of radon can also lead to fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
Around one in 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have radon levels at or above the EPA action level, which is currently 4 pCi/L. The EPA recommends testing your home for radon every couple of years. If you're moving a room to a lower level of your home, or if you're planning to sell your home, you should also conduct a radon test. If you plan on purchasing a home, have its radon levels testing before moving in. Diligent testing is the only way you can determine if high levels of radon are in your home.
Between 75% and 80% of all malicious attacks come from within an organization, not from an external threat. It's important to properly test your home for radon, as it can be a silent threat within your own space. It's also important to know how you can reduce the amount of radon entering your home. You can start by filling in cracks you see around the house, especially in the basement. You can also invest in a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it outside.
It's not clear if the units in the Butler Terrace Addition had proper ventilation installed, or if any tenants are suffering from radon-related illnesses.