January is Radon Action Month.
Did you know that Cortland County has the highest average basement radon readings in our state?
Elizabeth Gesin is a Public Health Educator with the Cortland County Health Department, and Coordinator of the Healthy Neigborhoods Program.
Gesin reminds us that the levels can vary widely, even within the same neighborhood. “Cortland County has the highest average basement and lowest living area radon readings in New York State, so it’s a very big concern.”
Radon exposure is dangerous, and the EPA estimates it kills 21,000 people in the U.S. every year.
If tests at your home turn up high levels of radon, the county can suggest what you might try next. “We make referrals and we help out getting people the information they need to go the next step, if they need to do that.”
Gesin reminds us that radon’s dangers are known. “Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. For smokers and non-smokers, it’s dangerous. The higher the level, the more danger, and how long a person has been in contact with that radon gas.”
Radon is found in rocks and dirt and can accumulate in your home through cracks or gaps. The only way to know the radon levels in your home is to test.
There are two ways to test. It’s quick and easy. “We will assist you with setting up the test kit. We’ll go through all of the paperwork with you and the state will send you results within just a couple of weeks. So then, you’ll know your level.”
The EPA provides radon test kits for free. “If a person would like to do this on their own, they can call the Environmental Health Division and they can come and pick up their own kit.
Testing is easy, it’s low-cost and it could save your life.”
Contact the County Health Department:
- Healthy Neighborhoods Program at 428-5410
- Environmental Health Division at 753-5035
Additional information provided by the County Health Department:
Laws and Regulations
- Radon Reporting Requirements for Measurement or Mitigation Firms
- Title 10 NYCRR 16.130 Radon Testing and Reporting
Radon Level Maps and Statistics
The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon causes thousands of cancer deaths in the United States each year.
* Radon is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, according to EPA’s 2003 Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003). The numbers of deaths from other causes are taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2005-2006 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Report and 2006 National Safety Council Reports.