At a public forum last night, leading voices in politics, public health, the environment and workers’ rights analyzed the threat to New York City residents from increased radon levels that would be found in natural gas from new regional sources being promoted by Mayor Bloomberg. Radon, a dangerous substance found in natural gas that most New Yorkers cook with, is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
At the forum, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal presented legislation sponsored by she and State Senator Diane Savino that would protect the public from the risks of radon in natural gas.
The Bloomberg Administration and Con Edison are promoting increased use of natural gas sourced from the Marcellus shale field of Pennsylvania. Gas from this field is know to possess much higher concentrations of radon than that from other regions, such as Texas and the Gulf Coast. New supplies of natural gas from Pennsylvania are becoming available due to a drilling boom caused by the controversial extraction technique known as fracking.
“With the proliferation of pipelines carrying natural gas to homes across the state and in New York City, it is critical that the state set standards for maximum levels to guard against the public’s completely preventable exposure to a known carcinogen,” said Rosenthal. “Clearly, there are far too many unknowns in this equation for anyone to be comfortable with the status quo.”