Letters, Week of June 19, 2013 | chelseanow.com

Letters, Week of June 19, 2013

Radon reaction is ‘just ignorant’

To The Editor:
Re “Pipeline Radon Fear Starting to Catch Fire” (news article, May 29):

Basements in parts of the country have continuous and serious levels of naturally occurring radon isotope Rn222 that is an alpha emitter, has a half-life of 3.8 days and has been linked to an increase in lung cancer rates. These homeowners live day in and day out for dozens of years in a condition where the radon is constantly entering their homes and, most importantly, they breathe it into their lungs, which is the only way it can harm you before a statistical significance of lung cancer can be attributed to the radioactive gas. Comparing that condition to the trace amounts that will be part of the natural gas delivered in a steel pipe that blocks alpha particles, as does air and skin, never to be inhaled in your home, is just ignorant. Unfortunately, the well-meaning devotees of so-called environmental protection reach for their torches once again.
Michael Bernstein

Reporter rebuts on radon

Eileen Stukane, author of the article Michael Bernstein references in the above letter, offers this response:

The Environmental Protection Agency’s safe level for radon in homes is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/l), and no one should be living in a home that has a higher level. To know the radon levels in their homes, homeowners can purchase radon monitors. Many homeowners do this since they do not want to inhale cancer-causing levels of this colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. If levels are high in homes, there are fan systems for radon removal that can be purchased to vent the radon-filled air outdoors where it dissipates.

I do not understand why Mr. Bernstein is okay with homeowners breathing in possibly high levels of radon for years. The longer one inhales radon that is in the air, the greater the risk of lung cancer. According to the EPA, radon currently causes 21,000 deaths from lung cancer a year. Yes, it does take years for lung cancer to be diagnosed from radon inhalation, but many people live in the same home for decades.

It is true that radon is naturally occurring in all natural gas. But the gas hydrofracked from the Marcellus Shale has a higher radon content and shorter transport time (hours as opposed to four to six days for half-life decay) than the gas from sources in the Gulf Coast — the usual source of gas for New Yorkers. It seems wise to legislate a radon monitoring system at the city gates rather than wait until levels above 4 pCi/l may be detected in the air of New York City kitchens.

Bike Share naysayers are not Nellies

Re “Up with Bike Share (and exclamation points!)” (Letters, June 12):

To The Editor:
You call those who question the placement of some Citi Bike franchises as “Negative Nellies,” while extolling the virtues of the program. Then why do you not permit cycling — or even walking a bike — on the High Line, your urban park project?

Why, on the other hand, do you apparently support the placement of a massive Citi Bike rental station in SoHo’s tiny Lt. Petrosino Park, where it has expropriated an area specifically dedicated to public art exhibitions? How would you feel if DOT [Department of Transportation] planted 43 bike rentals on the High Line?

Is this a case of “do as I say and not do as I do?” or is it simply “Hypocrite” — a more suiting appellation for you who dare brand those with whom you disagree as Nellies?
Sean Sweeney

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