HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Huntsville Housing Authority found high levels of radioactive gas inside more than 60 public housing units last fall but never told the tenants they were breathing cancer-causing radon.
An investigation by our news partners at AL.com found that 60 public housing units had high levels of radon but the housing authority never warned tenants of the possible danger.
A spokesperson for the housing authority told AL.com they did not want to alarm residents until a plan to fix the problem was in place. While some residents might know about the radon levels, I spoke with several people who had no idea what I was talking about.
The housing authority did the tests last fall. Our news partner AL.com obtained the documents from those tests showing that:
- Officials found high levels of radon gas at the Butler Terrace addition in 66 of 108 units tested.
- Radon is a naturally occurring gas that seeps from the ground and can pool at high levels inside homes.
- It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America, estimated to kill 21,000 annually.
- The housing authority reportedly has not tested for radon since the 1990s.
AL.com reports repair work to lower radon levels in a handful of units has started. They went on to say the authority didn't want to incite fear with the information without a plan of how to fix things.
When I went to Butler Terrace on Sunday, residents who were aware of the levels of radon gas found in their homes were fearful of what that could mean for them.
Residents I spoke with asked to remain anonymous in fear of eviction for speaking out.
"Scared... I think it's scaring me... Because I don't know what's going to happen... It's scary," said one resident.
Huntsville's Housing Authority Board of Directors is scheduled to meet Monday at 12 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.