Residents Asked To Test Homes For Radon

January is National Radon Action Month and the state Department of Health is reminding New Yorkers to test their homes for radon.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 21,000 people die from radon-induced lung cancer each year. Radon is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas, and the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

Radon is present at elevated levels in approximately 37 percent of basements tested in New York state homes.

It is naturally occurring, and disperses in outdoor air, but it can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings. Homeowners can test their homes at any time; however, it is best to do so during the heating season when homes typically let in less outdoor air.

Every home should be tested initially and tested again every 5 years, after major renovations, weatherization or installation of a radon mitigation system. Test kits are available through the state Health Department’s Radon Program by visiting www.health.ny.gov/environmental/radiological/radon/testkit.htm.

Radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost similar to that of many common home repairs.

New this year, the public can track radon testing and levels in each county with the Department’s Radon Indicator at apps.health.ny.gov/statistics/environmental/public–health–tracking/tracker/index.html#/radonStatebyYear.

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