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GO Health reminds public to take action against radon, test kits available

By Press Release

Press Release:

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month.

According to the EPA, an estimated 1 in 15 homes in the United States have high radon levels. “Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that seeps into your home through cracks in the foundation, walls and joints,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). 

“It can also be found in well water and dirt floors. Whether your home has a basement, sits on a slab, is old or brand-new, radon can build up and go undetected.”

Living in a home with high radon levels can be dangerous for your health. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is estimated to cause 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. According to the EPA, because radon and tobacco smoke damage the lungs, high radon levels are especially dangerous for
people who smoke. The risk of lung cancer is 10 times higher than for non-smokers.

Here are a few things you can do to protect your home and family from radon during National Radon Action Month:

  • Test your home for radon. A limited number of test kits are available for Genesee County residents at no charge to them. Call the Health Department at 585-344-2580 ext. 5555. For residents outside of Genesee County, you can purchase a short-term test kit at your local hardware store.
  • Contact your local schools to encourage radon education in school.
  • Consider quitting smoking. Call the New York State Smoker’s Quitline at 1-866-697-8487 and talk to a Specialized Quit Coach today.

For more information about National Radon Action Month, visit: https://www.epa.gov/radon/national-radon-action-month-consumer-information 

For more information about how to test your home or where to find a test kit, call the National Radon Hotline at 1-800-SOS-RADON (1-800-767-7236).

To learn more about radon, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/radon. For more information on GO Health programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org or call your respective health department at:

  • Genesee County: 585-344-2580 ext. 5555
  • Orleans County: 585-589-3278

Follow GO Health on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at GOHealthNY.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month: GO Health urges public to test homes for radon, second leading cause of lung cancer

By Press Release

Press Release:

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if you smoke and live in a home with high radon levels, your risk of developing lung cancer increases. 

Testing your home for radon is the only effective way to know if you and your loved ones are exposed to toxic levels of this poisonous gas.

Darren Brodie, Environmental Health Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health) stated, “Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas. It has no smell, taste, or color. Radon forms from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and mixes into the air you breathe. When radon is formed under homes and buildings, it can enter through cracks in the foundation. This leads to high levels of radon, especially in enclosed areas. Any home can have high radon levels and the only way to know is to test your home.”

The Genesee County Health Department Radon Program has a limited supply of short-term radon test kits free of charge for residents in Genesee County. We also offer educational materials and presentations to those interested in learning more about radon and its risks. 

Residents in other counties can get radon test kits at their local hardware store or through radon testing laboratories found at https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/radon/. For more information about radon and how to receive a free radon test kit in Genesee County, contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580 x5555 or Health@co.genesee.ny.us.

Presentation offers lessons, urges residents to test homes for radon

By Joanne Beck
Sherri Bensley and Allysa Pascoe
Sherri Bensley, left, and Allysa Pascoe, of Genesee and Orleans Health Department, give a presentation about radon during this week's City Council meeting at City Hall. Free test kits are available at the health department to find out your home's level for this odorless, tasteless radioactive gas.
Photo by Howard Owens.

If you were asked to name the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, it may surprise you that the answer is not second hand smoke, often portrayed as perhaps the most dangerous substance to lungs for those exposed to the fumes of others.

The top cause of lung cancer is actually radon for nonsmokers, and overall is the second leading cause of lung cancer for the general population, Public Health Educator Sherri Bensley of Genesee and Orleans Health Department says. 

Not often something discussed at the dinner table or thought about in the home, radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year, according to GO Health statistics. 

Although the topic up to now has been a quiet one, Bensley and Environmental Health Specialist Allysa Pascoe have been taking a presentation on the road — including to City Council this week — to review the basics of radon and remind folks about the importance of what to keep in mind with this radioactive gas.

"The GO Health Departments would like residents to know that radon is the leading environmental cause of any cancer and it is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking," Bensley said to The Batavian. "Radon can enter a home through cracks in the foundation, cracks in basement walls, holes, joints, dirt floors, sump pump holes, suspended floors and in the well-water supply. 

“Any home (new or old), that has contact to the ground has the potential for radon to enter the home," she said. "Testing your home is the only way to know if high levels are present and corrective action is needed.”

Tests were conducted in Genesee County, and Stafford was found to be the area with the highest levels of radon in the lowest living area of the home, which was the basement.

Levels were at greater than 10 pCi/L (that is picocuries per liter), with several areas reaching greater than 4 and less than 10, including Byron, Bergen, Batavia, Le Roy, Darien, Bethany, Pavilion and Pembroke. Towns and villages of Alabama, Oakfield, Elba and Alexander had the lowest levels of less than 4.

When testing was conducted on first floors in the county, Stafford remained at 10, and was joined by Darien; whereas the 4 to 10 levels were only in Batavia, Bethany and Le Roy and remaining municipalities had levels of 4 or lower.

The health department distributed radon test kits from Jan. 17 of this year to June 30, with 37 elevated readings out of 174 total kits, Bensley said. From July 1 to now, there were 73 more kits distributed, and 23 elevated readings. 

GO Health has been able to do this through a New York State Indoor Radon Grants Program meant to increase public awareness about th risks and health hazards of radon exposure.  It’s a sneaky inert gas that’s colorless, odorless and tasteless that cannot be detected by one’s senses.

Exposure to radon can damage tissue and may cause lung cancer since it is a carcinogen. It also can be found anywhere, since it’s produced by the decay of uranium in soil, rock and water. 

So now that you may be sufficiently scared, or at least concerned, what to do about it? 

“With funding provided by the New York State Department of Health, the Genesee County Health Department has free radon test kits available to residents of Genesee County,” Bensley said. “If someone finds that their home has a high level of radon, we would recommend that they hire a certified mitigator to install a radon mitigation system to reduce radon levels in their home.”

The department has also proposed that all new homes be built with radon-reducing features, which would be more cost effective, eliminate potential exposure and is currently a requirement in 11 other states, she said.

The test is made of charcoal, and it is uncapped for at least 12 hours during the test period. It will be placed on the lowest level of the home that is frequently occupied. Once radon is detected, certification is not required in New York State, but is recommended, she said.

She also recommends that, when pursuing mitigation, obtain several estimates, check references, and obtain a guarantee that the mitigator will reduce the radon to below 4.0 pCi/L. Go here for more information about mitigators.

 For more information about radon or obtaining a test, email Allysa.Pascoe@co.genesee.ny.us or Sherri.Bensley@co.genesee.ny.us or call 585-344-2580, Ext. 5528.

GC Health hosts radon training November 15

By Press Release

Press Release:

Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) have identified Genesee County as having a high average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (pico curies per liter). 

Radon can build up to dangerous levels in your home, which can occur in new homes or older homes. 

“Radon can enter your home through cracks in the foundation, cracks in basement walls, holes, joints, dirt floors, sump pump holes, suspended floors, and in the well-water supply,” stated Darren Brodie, Environmental Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). 

“Any house that has contact with the ground has the potential for radon to enter the home. That is why training contractors and code enforcement officers about the risk of radon is important.” 

On Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 1 - 4 p.m., the Genesee County Health Department will be hosting George Schambach, the Vice President of the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologies, Inc., and President/Owner of Professional Home Inspection Service to implement a training for all contractors and code enforcement officers. 

This training will be held at the Genesee County Emergency Management Office on 7690 State Street Road, Batavia.

Topics will include: 

  • Radon Measurement
  • Radon Mitigation
  • Radon Abatement
  • Health Risks of Radon to Construction Personnel

This training is free of charge. Any Contractor or Code Enforcement Officer interested in attending can contact Allysa Pascoe at 585-344-2580 x5508 to register. For more information on radon or other GO Health programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org.

GO Health reminds public about dangers of radon in your home

By Press Release

Press Release:

Did you know that radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is released in rock, soil, and water? Radon has no smell, taste, or color and kills more than 21,000 people each year. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

Radon can build up to dangerous levels in your home, which can occur in new homes or older homes. “Radon can enter your home through cracks in the foundation, cracks in basement walls, holes, joints, dirt floors, sump pump holes, suspended floors, and in the well-water supply,” stated Darren Brodie, Environmental Health Director for Genesee
and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “Any house that has contact with the ground has the potential for radon to enter the home.”

Both the EPA and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) have identified Genesee County as having a high average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (pico curies per liter). “Testing your home for radon is the only way to know if high levels are present and corrective action is needed,” stated Brodie. When radon tests are
completed, they should be performed in the lowest primary living area of the home. 

GO Health encourages residents to test for radon when buying a home, doing a major renovation, every 2 years if there is a mitigation system installed or every 5 years otherwise. You can purchase a short-term radon test kit from your local hardware store or through a radon-testing laboratory.

A limited supply of Radon Test Kits are also available for Genesee County Residents at the Genesee County Fair this week from 12 p.m. - 7 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday. Stop by the health department booth and ask for a free kit. For more information on radon or other GO Health programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org

GO Health warns of dangers of radon in homes, encourages testing

By Press Release

Press Release:

You can’t see it. You can’t smell it. But breathing in high levels of radon can increase your risk of lung cancer even if you don’t smoke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and it is estimated to cause over 20,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is the reason it is so important to get your home tested for radon.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that seeps into your home through cracks in the foundation, walls and joints. It can be found in well water and in dirt floors. Whether your home has a basement, sits on a slab, is brand-new or old, radon can build-up and go undetected. 

Testing your home with a short term radon test kit is a quick and easy way to determine if there are high levels of radon in your home. The Genesee County Health Department has a limited number of short term test kits available free of charge for Genesee County residents. These test kits are easy and quick to use.

“Testing for radon is one of the easiest preventative health measures you can take,” stated Darren Brodie, Environmental Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “If your radon levels are low, we suggest you test every couple of years. If your radon levels are high, we can give you information about how to mitigate the radon. Either way, you have made an important step to keep your family safe.”

For more information about radon and how to receive a free radon test kit in Genesee County, contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580 x5555 or Health@co.genesee.ny.us.

Health Department encourages home radon testing

By Press Release

Press release:

January is Radon Action Month, an annual observance that focuses on increasing the public’s awareness of the health risks of radon and how you can take action. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has no smell, taste or color. When radon forms from the breakdown of uranium found in soil, it can enter a home through cracks in the walls, basement floors, foundations and other openings.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and claims the lives of approximately 21,000 Americans each year. This January, we are encouraging all homeowners, renters, real estate agents and building managers to conduct radon testing. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) recommends testing for radon during the buying/selling of a home, after doing a major renovation, and every two to five years, depending on previous radon level readings.

The EPA and NYSDOH have identified Genesee County as having a high average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (pico curies per liter). The good news is, testing your home with a short-term radon test kit is a quick and easy way to determine if there are high levels of radon present in your home. The test kits are easy to use and contain basic instructions on how to receive the most accurate results when testing your home for radon.

“The only way to know if high levels of radon are present in your home is by testing your home for radon,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). The Genesee County Health Department was awarded a five-year grant through the NYSDOH to provide radon prevention education and distribute free radon test kits to Genesee County residents. Currently, there is a limited supply of radon test kits that can be given to residents of Genesee County, and this process is free of charge when you request a kit. If you live outside of Genesee County, you can purchase an inexpensive radon test kit from your local hardware store.

If test results come back and the radon levels in your home are greater than 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L), you can contact a certified radon mitigation contractor to install a radon reduction system in your home. This would be at the homeowner’s expense.  

For more details about the program or to seek a radon test kit, call the Genesee County Health Department at (585) 344-2580 ext. 5555. For more information on radon or other GO Health programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org.

Health Department encourages residents to test for Radon

By Press Release

Press release:

Did you know that radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is released in rock, soil and water? Radon has no smell, taste or color and kills more than 21,000 people each year. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

Radon can build up to dangerous levels in your home, which can occur in new homes or older homes. “Radon can enter your home through cracks in the foundation, cracks in basement walls, holes, joints, dirt floors, sump pump holes, suspended floors and in the well-water supply,” stated Darren Brodie, Environmental Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “Any house that has contact to the ground has the potential for radon to enter the home.”

Both the EPA and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) have identified Genesee County as having a high average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (pico curies per liter). “Testing your home for radon is the only way to know if high levels are present and corrective action is needed,” stated Brodie. When radon tests are completed, they should be performed in the lowest primary living area of the home.

GO Health encourages residents to test for radon when buying a home, doing a major renovation, every 2 years if there is a mitigation system installed or every 5 years otherwise. You can purchase a short-term radon test kit from your local hardware store or through a radon-testing laboratory. For more information on radon or other GO Health programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org

Public Health Column: January is Radon Action Month

By Billie Owens

Public Health Column from the Genesee County Health Department:

January is Radon Action Month! Did you know that radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas? It has no smell, taste, or color. Radon forms from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and circulates into the air you breathe.

When radon is formed under homes and buildings, it can penetrate through cracks in the foundation, leading to high levels of radon, especially in enclosed areas.

Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties, explains how easily radon can seep into your home.

“Radon can enter your home through cracks in the foundation, walls, joints, dirtfloors, opening of a sump pump, in well-water supply, and from gaps around suspended floors and pipes.," Balduf said. "Any home can have high radon levels, whether it is old or new, has a basement or is built on a slab.”

It is understandable how this colorless, odorless gas can go unnoticed. If high levels of radon in your home are undetected for an extended period of time, the risk for developing lung cancer can occur.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Radon is the leading second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

“However, because you can’t see or smell radon, people tend to downplay the health effects and ignore the possibility that there might be a silent killer in their homes” says Balduf.

Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and inexpensive. Radon test kits can be purchased at local hardware and home improvement stores or directly from the New York State Department of Health website for $11 (click here).

If test results come back and the radon levels in your home are greater than 4 picocuries per liter of air [pCi/L], a certified radon mitigator can install a radon reduction system in your home.

To learn more about the Genesee County Radon Program, please call the department at 585-344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit here.

Public Health Column: November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

By Billie Owens

From the Genesee County Health Department:

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month! Did you know that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General’s office, radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. Fortunately, radon induced lung cancer can be prevented.

Radon is a radioactive gas that forms naturally when elements (uranium, thorium, or radium) break down in rocks, soil and groundwater.

People can be exposed to high levels of radon from breathing in the toxic gas when it seeps into homes and buildings through cracks or gaps in the foundation.

“When you breathe in radon, radioactive particles from radon gas can get trapped in your lungs” said Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties. “Over time, these radioactive particles increase the risk of lung cancer. It may take years before health problems appear.”

People who smoke and are exposed to radon are at a greater risk of developing lung cancer. The only way to know if your house has high levels of radon is to test for it.

The EPA recommends taking action to reduce radon in homes that have a radon level at or above 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). In Genesee County, the average indoor radon level is 5.74 pCi/L compared to the State average of 4.42 pCi/L2.

Below is a graph of the towns in Genesee County and their average indoor radon screening level. These screening levels reflect tests that were administered in the basement.

Any radon exposure has some risk of causing lung cancer. If your home has a radon level at or above 4 pCi/L, a certified radon mitigator can install a radon reduction system that will ventilate the radon out of the air within your home. The lower the radon levels are in your home, the lower your family’s risk of lung cancer.

About the Genesee County Health Department Radon Program

The program has a limited supply of free short-term radon test kits available to Genesee County residents. These kits are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. The program also offers educational materials and in-services programs on the danger of radon and mitigation options for new or existing homes -- all available at no charge.

Test kits are available to order through the NYSDOH website for $11 here.

Health Signs of Exposure

If you think you might have been exposed to high levels of radon over long periods of time, talk with your doctor about whether you should get regular health checkups and tests to look for possible signs of lung cancer.

Be aware of possible symptoms of lung cancer, such as shortness of breath, a new or worsening cough, pain or tightness in the chest, hoarseness, or trouble swallowing, and tell your doctor if you start to have any of these symptoms.

For more information about the Radon Program in Genesee County, please call the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580, ext. 5555, or click here.

Public Health Column: January is Radon Action Month

By Billie Owens

Public Health Colmun from the Genesee County Health Department:

January is Radon Action Month! Did you know that radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas? It has no smell, taste, or color. Radon forms from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and circulates into the air you breathe.

When radon is formed under homes and buildings, it can penetrate through cracks in the foundation, leading to high levels of radon, especially in enclosed areas.

Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties, explains how easily radon can seep into your home.

“Radon can enter your home through cracks in the foundation, walls, joints, dirt floors, opening of sump pump, in well-water supply, and from gaps around suspended floors and pipes. Any home can have high radonlevels, whether it is old or new, has a basement or is built on a slab.”

It is understandable how this colorless, odorless gas can go unnoticed. If high levels of radon in your home are undetected for an extended period of time, the risk for developing lung cancer can occur. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. If you smoke and live in a home with high radon levels, your risk for developing lung cancer significantly increases.

Testing your home with a short term radon test kit is the quickest way to determine if there are high levels of radon present in your home. The Genesee County Health Department has an allotment of short-term test kits that are free of charge for Genesee County residents. These test kits are easy to use and contain basic instructions on how to receive the most accurate results when testing your home for radon.

“Testing your home for radon and taking action sooner rather than later could save the health of your family,” Balduf said. "Testing your home for radon is a simple process that is free of charge to Genesee County residents when you request a kit from the Genesee County Health Department."

If you do live outside of the county, inexpensive radon test kits can be purchased at hardware stores. If test results come back and the radon levels in your home are greater than 4 picocuries per liter of air [pCi/L], which is the “take action” level determined by the EPA, a certified radon mitigator can install a radon reduction system in your home. Take action against radon this January!

For more details about the program or to receive any of these services call the department at 585-344-2580.

Free home testing for radon available from county health department

By Billie Owens

Public health column from the Genesee County Health Department:

Did you know that exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year are related to radon.

Many people are unaware that radon may be a problem in their homes because it is a radioactive gas that you cannot smell, taste or see. The good news is that lung cancer related to radon exposure can be prevented by testing your home.

So where does radon come from? Radon gas forms naturally in the ground from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water that circulates into the air we breathe. When radon is formed under homes and buildings, it can easily enter through cracks in the foundation, walls, joints, dirt floors, opening of sump pump, in well-water supply, and from gaps around suspended floors and pipes.

When radon enters a home, the toxic gas can get trapped inside. Breathing indoor air with high radon levels can be damaging to your health.

Paul Pettit, Public Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties, explains the dangers relationship betweensmoking, radon, and lung cancer.

“Radon and tobacco smoke from cigarettes (including but not limited to cigars and pipes) can damage your lungs," Pettit said. "When they’re combined, smoking and radon are more dangerous than either one on its own. Smokers who live in a home with high radon levels have a risk of lung cancer that is 10 times higher than nonsmokers who live in homes with high radon levels.”

Testing your home is the only way to know if you and your family are exposed to radon. A short-term test kit is the quickest and easiest way to test your home. The EPA recommends testing the lowest level of your home where people spend time.

If you use part of your basement for living space, like a playroom, office, or den, test there. If you only use your basement for storage, test the first floor. Avoid testing in places that are damp like the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room.

The EPA recommends that you take action to reduce your home's indoor radon levels if your radon test result is 4 pCi/L (pico curies per liter) or higher.

In Genesee County, the average basement screening level is 7.46 pCi/L, and the average first-floor screening level is 4.32 pCi/L.

Due to the high levels of radon, the Genesee County Health Department offers free short-term radon test kits to residents in Genesee County. The department also provides educational in-services and materials about radon, testing and mitigation at no charge.

If your home has an elevated level of radon, you should contact a certified radon mitigator to install a radon reduction system in your home. It is important to note that these systems should only be installed by a certified radon mitigator.

A radon reduction system can be a low cost and effective way to reduce the level of radon in your home. If you are purchasing a new house, make sure the seller completes a radon test and has the results available. If you are building a new home, make sure to have radon-resistant construction features installed and tested prior to moving in.

For more information on radon, please visit here.

For more details about the program or to receive any of these services call the department at 585-344-2580, ext. 5555, ot visit here.

Public Health Column: Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer

By Billie Owens

Press release -- Public Health Column:

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month! Did you know that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if you smoke and live in a home with high radon levels, your risk for developing lung cancer significantly increases. Testing your home for radon is the only effective way to determine if you and your loved ones are exposed to toxic levels of this poisonous gas.

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas. It has no smell, taste, or color.  Radon forms from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and circulates into the air you breathe. When radon is formed under homes and buildings, it can penetrate through cracks in the foundation, leading to high levels of radon, especially in enclosed areas.

Sarah Balduf, environmental health director of Genesee and Orleans counties, further explains how radon can seep into your home.

“Radon can enter your home through cracks in the foundation, walls, joints, dirt floors, opening of sump pump, in well-water supply, and from gaps around suspended floors and pipes," she said. "Any home can have high radon levels, whether it is old or new, has a basement or is built on a slab.”

Test Your Home

Testing your home with a short term radon test kit is the quickest way to determine if your home is at risk. The Genesee County Health Department has an allotment of short term test kits that are free of charge for Genesee County residents. These test kits are easy to use and contain basic instructions on how to receive the most accurate results when testing your home for radon.

The EPA recommends placing the test kit in the first livable floor of your home. If you do not spend time in your basement, place the test kit in the first level of your home. Avoid testing in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. The humidity created in these rooms may interfere with the radon test results.

Once you have located where you will unseal the test kit, place it at least 20 inches off the ground. Be mindful to place the test kit in an area where pets or children will not disturb it. All windows and doors must remain closed (except for normal entry and exit) throughout the duration of the test. This will allow for the greatest concentration of radon to build up within your home.

Mail Test Kit in Timely Manner

Once the test kit is complete, reseal the test kit canister and mail it to the lab in a timely manner. A self-addressed envelope will be provided with the kit. f the test is not received by the lab within 7 days, the test results will be inconclusive.

Test kits are also available through the New York State Department of Health, some County Health Departments and local hardware stores.

Balduf explains that “If your home does have an elevated level of radon (4 picocuries per liter of air [pCi/L] or greater), you should contact a certified radon mitigator to install a radon reduction system in your home. These systems should only be installed by a certified radon mitigator. Radon reduction systems can be a low cost and effective way to reduce the level of radon in your home.”

Home Buyers -- Know Results of Radon Test

When purchasing a new house, make sure the seller completes a radon test kit and has the results available. If you are building a new home, make sure to have radon-resistant construction features installed and tested prior to moving in.

The Genesee County Health Department Radon Program offers short-term radon test kits for residences in Genesee County. The program also offers educational materials and in-services programs on the danger of radon prevalence, and mitigation options for new or existing homes which are all available at no charge.

This holiday season; share the gift of good health by encouraging your friends and family to test their homes for radon. The only way to know if there is radon in your home is by completing a simple test kit that may save your life.

For More Information

For more details about the program or to receive any of these services call the department at 585-344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit http://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/health/radon2.html.

For information about services that your local health department provides visit:

Public Health Column: Radon gas poses risks

By Billie Owens

Press release from the Genesee County Health Department:

Radon gas is a naturally occurring colorless, odorless gas that results from the breakdown of uranium in the soil and water which can cause lung cancer when exposed to high levels over a period of years. The risk for disease increases if you are a cigarette smoker.

Radon can enter any building, new or old, with dozens of counties in New York identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “red zones” which have the highest potential and predicted average indoor radon screening levels.

Radon can enter a building several ways, including:

  • Cracks in concrete slab
  • Pores and cracks in concrete blocks
  • Slab-footing joints
  • Exposed soil
  • Cracks between poured concrete and blocks
  • Loose pipe fittings
  • Water

“Testing your home with a short-term radon test kit is an easy and quick way to determine if you are exposed to dangerous levels of the gas. Whether you are purchasing a new house or would like to test your current home, testing is an important safety measure,” said Environmental Director, Sarah Balduf.

To test your home, the EPA recommends placing a test kit in lowest level of the house that you most use (i.e. if you frequently use the basement, place the kit there. If not, use the first floor). Do not place a test kit in the kitchen or bathroom. The specific type of kit will determine how long to leave the kit in place, but can range from two days to one year. Short term test kits are a good starting point and are deployed in a home for two to seven days, while a long-term test kit can be deployed for up to a year.

Once the test time has ended, reseal the package and send it in to be analyzed per the instructions. Typically test kits are available through the New York State Department of Health, some County Health Departments or your local hardware stores. The Genesee County Health Department Radon Program offers short-term radon test kits for residences in Genesee County, as well as educational materials and in-services on the danger of radon, prevalence and mitigation options for new or existing homes which are all available at no charge.

For more details about the program or to receive any of these services call the department at 585-344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit http://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/health/radon2.html.

The results you receive from testing will decide your next steps. If your results indicate high levels of radon, you may need to mitigate (fix) your home. A radon screening of 4 picocuries/liter means that some level of home improvement is needed. The EPA states that no level of radon is completely safe so even if your results are low, talk to an expert to make sure your home is fully protected. To fix any radon problems in your home, the EPA recommends using a qualified contractor.

For more information on radon gas visit https://www.epa.gov/radon or call your local health department.

For information about general health department services contact:

  • Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website

at www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/health/index.html. Visit Facebook at Genesee County Health Department and Twitter at GeneseeCoHealthDept.

  • Orleans County Health Department at: 589-3278 or check out their website

at: www.orleansny.com/publichealth.  Visit Facebook and Twitter at OrleansCoHealth.

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