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Guest Op/Ed: Radon Gas and Florida's Development

Radon is found in one out of every four Florida homes. Every citizen, whether they are aware of the problem or not, is affected. All exposure to radon is potentially harmful. Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive, gaseous element that results from the breaking down of radium.
Numerous studies support the clear and simple fact that radon exposure is a serious public health hazard. Indeed, more is known about the adverse health effects of radon exposure than any other environmental pollutant. Indoor radon air pollution is the number one environmental pollutant in Florida.
Indoor radon is second only to smoking as the major cause of lung cancer. The risk of developing lung cancer depends upon the concentration of radon and the length of time of the exposure. It is believed that long-term exposure to low levels of radon is more hazardous than exposure to high levels of radon for a short time.
The political pressures for development at full speed, with the welfare of its citizens secondary, is great in Florida. Florida has a long radon history. In fact, after years of controversy, political machinations and development pressures appear to have made the situation worse. ManaSota-88 believes this history indicates Florida has not done an adequate job of protecting the public from the harm resulting from needless exposure to radon.
ManaSota-88 strongly recommends:
1) The development of Federal and State standards limiting public exposure to radon;
2) The implementation of a provision for Federal and State tax relief to enable homeowners to correct radon problems in existing buildings;
3) A publicly-funded radon-testing service to be offered free or at cost. State and federal assistance should be provided to obtain low-cost financing;
4) In some areas of the country where radon levels may be too high for radon reduction to be successful, construction of homes, schools, and commercial buildings should be banned.

Glenn Compton is the Chairman of ManaSota 88, a non-profit organization that has spent over 30 years fighting to protect the environment of Manatee and Sarasota counties.


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