House Bill 420 Requires Cabinet To Deny Public Access To Radon Information


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HB 420, sponsored by Rep. Adam Bowling and pending before the House, would revise laws governing radon contractor certification. A House Committee Substitute added language requiring the Cabinet to deny public access to records regarding regarding records of radon measurement, mitigation, quality control program plans, calibration certifications, laboratory analysis activities, worker health and safety plans, and equipment repairs, except for "records made available to owners or occupants of a building."
 
Radon, an odorless and colorless radioactive gas that forms naturally when uranium, thorium, or radium breaks down in rocks, soil and groundwater, is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking.  The US EPA and Surgeon General's office estimate that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer death each year, due to infiltration of the gas into occupied dwellings.
 
The provision of the House Committee Substitute preventing the Cabinet from disclosing this critical information deprives potential home buyers of important information regarding whether a home that they intend to purchase or rent has been tested and or treated for elevated levels of radon.  Within any zip code, the geology of an area can change significantly, so that allowing the release of aggregated data by zip code, which House Floor Amendment 1 would allow, is not helpful to an individual planning on purchasing a home who is justifiably concerned with the possibility that radon levels within the home are elevated.  The Council questions why the General Assembly would want to require the Cabinet to deny public access to information regarding radon gas measurement and treatment, at the time that the information is most valuable to a potential purchaser or renter, and before they potentially place themselves and family at elevated risk of lung cancer.
 
HB 420 should be opposed until the open records disclosure exemption is removed from the bill, in order that the public not be deprived of important public health information when seeking to rent or purchase a family home. Call 1-800-372-7181 and ask the House Members to vote NO on HB 420 unless the denial of public access to agency records is removed.
By Tom FitzGerald on 03/04/2019 9:39 PM
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