St. Louis area’s legacy of uranium production increases risk of Radon exposure
Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal has filed legislation to establish the Missouri Radon Awareness Act. For several decades beginning in the 1940s, tens of thousands of tons of enriched uranium was processed and covertly dumped in the St. Louis region. Radon gas occurs from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. Because of the increased presence of uranium in St. Louis area soils, there is now an increased risk of Radon exposure. Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
“Radon is a silent killer, an odorless gas that seeps into homes’ foundations causing lung cancer and other illnesses. This risk is especially great in the St. Louis area where uranium waste left behind nearly 75 years ago continues to cause issues for communities and families,” said. Sen. Chappelle-Nadal. “I will continue to fight for these communities and families by raising awareness around this issue, and protecting consumers as they purchase a new home. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the General Assembly to pass this common sense legislation.”
Senate Bill 417 would require people selling homes to provide a pamphlet, supplied by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, on Radon information that homebuyers and sellers should know. The seller would also be required to provide a disclosure to the buyer with information on radon test results of the property being sold. Currently, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services provides free Radon testing kits to Missouri residents.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Radon is a gaseous radioactive element that occurs from the natural breakdown of uranium in the soil and rocks. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Radon becomes a risk indoors because as it continues to break down, it emits atomic particles that upon entering the lungs can alter the DNA and increase lung cancer risk. Radon is classified as a ‘Class A’ carcinogen according to EPA.