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Niagara County: Radon tests are encouraged, and free kits are available


Thu, Jan 17th 2019 01:10 pm

By the Niagara County Department of Health

According to a state study, 10 percent of the basements in homes in Niagara County have reported radon levels above the radioactive measurement of four picocuries per liter (pCi/L), which is the short-term safety standard. Fifteen percent of homes tested in the City of Lockport are estimated to have exceeded that standard.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year.

“Homeowners are encouraged to explore radon reduction options to lower their radon levels below the 4 pCi/L standard in the home,” said Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton. “Being aware of your home level, and taking action to reduce it, will help to protect you and your family’s health.”

Venting radon gas through pipes into the air where it quick dissipates is a main method to reduce radon levels. For more information, or to find a certified radon mitigation professional visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/radiological/radon/radon.htm

"Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas," said Theresa McCabe, public health educator at the Niagara County Department of Health. “It's not detectable by smell, taste or sight, only by a test.

“Winter is the best time of year to test a home for radon. Radon gas can enter a structure through the cracks and crevices, the joints, or the sump pumps in a basement. Concentrations of the gas can build up and reach dangerous levels that could negatively affect health."

The Niagara County Department of Health’s “Healthy Neighborhood Program” is currently canvassing the City of Lockport. Program staff can visit one’s home and give a radon test kit at no charge. Call 716-439-7479 to set up an appointment.

“ ‘Healthy Neighborhood Program’ staff will ask you a series of health and safety questions about the home, and one of the things we talk about is radon gas. In return for doing this survey, we can give you various free health and safety products, including a radon test kit," McCabe said.

A “Healthy Neighborhoods Program” public health technician will place the test canister, pick it up a few days later, and mail it in for evaluation.

There is no charge for this service. Based on test results, staff will assist the homeowner to determine if any actions are necessary to protect that person’s family.

Anyone outside the “Healthy Neighborhood” target area can obtain a radon test kit for $11 from the New York State Department of Health. An order form with instructions can be found at: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/radiological/radon/testkit.htm.

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