Radon is a radioactive gas produced naturally in the environment. Most of Florida is underlain by a rock unit, the Hawthorn Group, which contains variable amounts of the mineral carbonate fluorapatite. A phosphate mineral which incorporates uranium from the marine environment into its structure as it is being deposited. When the uranium in the phosphate undergoes radioactive decay, radon gas (among other daughter elements) is eventually produced. The radon gas itself is radioactive. It becomes a health risk when it is inhaled and radioactive decay occurs while it is in the lungs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has information on the average amount of radon found in homes in Florida by county on its website: https://www.epa.gov/radon/find-information-about-local-radon-zones-and-state-contact-information. Additional information about radon may be found at https://www.epa.gov/radon.
Radon may pose a problem when it enters a home or building. Now that many homes and buildings are well insulated and air-conditioned, radon may enter through plumbing or cracks that develop in the slab or foundation and become trapped and concentrated. When a home is under construction, certain measures may be taken that allow radon levels to be lowered if they are found to be a problem when construction is complete. Maps that can be used when deciding whether to incorporate radon resistant construction techniques are available at http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/radon/maps/protection-maps.html.
When buying a home, buyers may request that the structure be tested for radon gas. When concentrations of the gas are high, mitigation procedures may be necessary. Information concerning all aspects of radon, including certified businesses that measure it and mitigate it, may be found at: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/radon/index.html.
Arsenic is a toxic element that can be introduced into the environment by natural processes, anthropogenic activities or from human activities which cause the release of naturally occurring arsenic. Exposure to arsenic in humans is associated with skin, cardiovascular, neurological, respiratory, and gastrointestinal effects. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded that arsenic is a human carcinogen, and exposure to it may cause lung, skin, kidney, bladder, and liver cancer. Human exposure to arsenic generally occurs through ingestion of contaminated water and food. Additional information about arsenic exposure and health hazard can be found at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2021-04/documents/arsenic_april_2021.pdf. Natural phenomena of arsenic release in the environment include volcanic eruption, the weathering of arsenic-containing minerals and ores, while the anthropogenic sources include some commercial and industrial processes. The following are some common sources of arsenic in Florida from human activities :
Chicken and turkey feed Arsenic has been used as a feed additive for chickens that results in the chicken manure containing arsenic which was then used as a fertilizer on crops and orchards.
Most of the above activities have been phased out or ceased altogether; however, the arsenic introduced by them remains in the environment. A comprehensive assessment of anthropogenic arsenic sources within the state of Florida was conducted by the Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management (Solo-Gabriele et al., 2004).
June 29, 2021 - 9:48am
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.