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News brief with The Colorado Sun: Housing aid from the state, and questions around one community's cancer rate

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Building a house in Colorado isn't easy. State government officials and local community leaders both think they know how to fix the problem— but their solutions can be very different.

KUNC's Dylan Simard was joined by Michael Booth, an environment and health reporter for The Colorado Sun, to discuss housing in Colorado. To make a long story short—there isn't enough of it.

"Only 36% of renters right now can afford a starter home and only 15% of renters can afford the median priced home in the Denver market right now because prices have gotten so high," Booth said. "The reaction among some of the legislators at the state has been maybe it's because too many local areas, too many cities and counties are limiting growth in a way that makes it impossible to build affordable housing."

If the problem seems simple, it isn't. Cities and towns around Colorado are often resistant to change, in part because some of them like the laws they have. Some communities think they have one idea that can solve the problem: they want the state to give them more money for infrastructure and to subsidize low-cost housing.

Booth also talked with KUNC about another story on a pending court battleThe Colorado Sun published recently. In the community of Lakewood, the company Terumo manufactures lifesaving medical equipment. Terumo treats the equipment with ethylene oxide, a carcinogenic chemical tightly regulated by state law and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Some residents of Lakewood have developed cancer, including a man who was diagnosed at a young age. Now, some residents plan to take Terumo to court over the issue this summer. It's not easy to pin down a direct cause for cancer, though.

"As we say in our story, cancer doesn't come with a return address label," Booth said.

As Booth pointed out, however, the plaintiff doesn't have to prove that their cancer was caused by chemicals to a panel of scientists— just to members of a jury.

As a general assignment reporter and backup host, I gather news and write stories for broadcast, and I fill in to host for Morning Edition or All Things Considered when the need arises.
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