The Radon Hearing Scared the Pants Off Us.

We've been following the radon story for close to three years, and we still learned things at the May 9th Assembly hearing that blew us away. Video of the hearing should be required viewing for any legislator who hesitates to sign onto the bill. It's impossible to summarize the 4-hour hearing in just one paragraph, but take just this small sampling:

Dr. Sheila Bushkin, labeling lung cancer as the deadliest cancer, and  graphically describing the inherent "oxygen starvation;" Barbara Warren, RN, of Citizens Environmental Coalition, noting that additional health effects are generally considered "ten times the carcinogenicity of a substance" (since radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, that's not good news). Other highlights include former DEP commissioner, Al Appleton, and public health expert, Dr. Elizabeth Geltman, describing the utter inadequacy of agency response to radon thus far. Mr. Appleton explained that even the industry's own reports show that residents "will get 10-15 times the current radon exposure they're getting now." Dr. Kathleen Nolan, Research Director for Catskill Mountainkeeper, skewered the "experts" hired by Spectra Energy for their reports denying a risk from radon, noting that they relied on samples provided by industry. Perhaps the most moving testimony came from David Brown, of the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, who became emotional as he described residents near drill sites who had "lost hope" due to lack of governmental health protections.

Chelsea Now reported on the hearing, noting, "It’s been nearly seven months since the Spectra pipeline came online, pumping millions of cubic liters of natural gas to serve homes throughout New York City."

Assembly Members (r-to-l) Health Committee Chair Dick Gottfried; bill Sponsor, Linda Rosenthal; James Brenenan and Nily Rozik. Photo by Chelsea Now.