GO Health urges testing for radon, which kills 21,000 people a year

Posted 25 July 2023 at 11:31 am

Press Release, Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments

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,” Brodie said.

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 two years if there is a mitigation system installed or every five 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 noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through 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.