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Growing Environmental Crisis in Louisiana

Growing Environmental Crisis in Louisiana

Radiation released from sinkhole 15 times safe levels says expert

A widening sinkhole in the tiny Louisiana town of Bayou Corne - about an hour west of New Orleans - is releasing dangerous levels of radiation. The situation grows more hazardous with the approach of Hurricane Isaac.

State air quality sampling has shown the site is releasing a variety of toxins into the air including benzene, toluene and ethylbenzene.

These chemicals frequently occur together at toxic waste sites.

The sinkhole, caused by a failed salt cavern, appeared on August 4 and quickly revealed a pit of toxic slurry. The hole is now the size of three football fields and still growing.

An expert in the health risks of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) says the situation is serious. Stanley Waligora is calling for more testing to make sure radium isn’t leaking into groundwater that could endanger human health and that of livestock.

2011 State Test Shows High Levels of Radon in Nixa Elementary School

According to the CDC radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The first is smoking. It’s an odorless, colorless radioactive gas.

Recently Nixa School officials found out there may have been dangerous levels of the gas in an elementary school.

But officials say there is no reason to panic, and the children are in no immediate danger.

The CDC says radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. It's a gas that comes from the breakdown of soil and rocks and is lethal when exposed to over an extended period of time.

So when high levels show up in a school, people get concerned; none more so than school officials.

“We take pride in providing safe and secure learning environments for our kids,” said Nixa Superintendent Stephen Kleinsmith.

High Radon Levels Found in 1 in 5 Schools, More Testing Advised

IAQ Index™ provides test kits to help identify radon levels and other hazards in schools, homes and offices.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “A nationwide survey of radon levels in schools estimates that nearly one in five has at least one schoolroom with a short-term radon level above the action level of 4 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter) - the level at which EPA recommends that schools take action to reduce the level. EPA estimates that more than seventy thousand (70,000) schoolrooms in use today have high short-term radon levels.”

Radon: The Silent Killer

Watch this news segment: http://www.wilx.com/news/headlines/Radon_The_Silent_Killer_136625228.html

If you thought smoking was the only way you can develop lung cancer, think again. January is Radon Action Month, and health agencies are pushing everyone to test their homes for the deadly gas.

"You can't smell it, you can't see it, you can't feel it," said Matthew Noss, marketing director for SWAT Environmental out of Lansing. "That's why they say it's the silent killer."

Radon is a known human carcinogen, but the only symptom of exposure is lung cancer itself.

"It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers," said Noss.

The good news is elevated radon levels can be reduced. Technicians can install mitigation systems to prevent radon from seeping into your home.

New Law to Help Renters Learn More About Radon Levels in Their Homes

SPRINGFIELD – A new law set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, will help people who rent apartments, condominiums or houses access information about radon levels in their homes. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s (IEMA) radon program is offering guidance to help renters better understand radon hazards and their rights under this new law.

“About one-third of all housing in Illinois is rented,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “This new law will help renters find out if their landlords have already tested for radon and, if so, what levels were detected. For units where no testing has been done, we hope more renters will be proactive and get their homes tested. Radon is one health risk that can be easily reduced. Testing your home is the important first step.”

A Silent Killer: Video and Article

Watch the CBS 42 news segment.

There's a killer lurking in and around your home and you may not even know it. Dead bolts and window locks are no match; in fact you could be in danger right now!

That killer is Radon, a radioactive gas. It's a deadly by-product of decaying Uranium in the ground.

How deadly? Consider this; Radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Claiming more lives annually than drunk driving and house fires, combined!

According to the surgeon general, Radon exposure is second only to smoking as the leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Scary! When you consider more people who've never touched a cigarette are developing lung cancer. According to Dr. Veena Antony for those who do smoke Radon only increases their risk of getting it.