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Public Health

Posted on: November 22, 2019

It Is Time to Test for Radon Gas

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As we enter the winter months when homes and buildings are closed up for the cold weather, it is prime time to test buildings for Radon Gas. Yes, Yates County does have Radon Gas seeping out of the ground into homes in the air we breathe and into ground water we may use for drinking and showering. Radon Gas is a naturally-occurring element from the breakdown of Uranium deep in the Earth's crust. As the element traveled through rocks and soil toward the Earth's surface, it transitioned into Radium, then finally into Radon Gas as it reaches the surface. 

Radon Gas is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that seeps into buildings through cracks and crevices in the foundation and through sump pump holes, becoming trapped by a building for a period of time. All inhabitants breathe in the gas unknowingly, causing damage to the DNA of lung tissue. Over time, Radon Gas can cause lung cancer. In fact, Radon Gas is the leading cause of lung cancer for people who do not smoke. It is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer for those who choose to smoke. 

This is a preventable health issue if you decide to take steps to remove it when present. The first step is to test for Radon Gas to determine if you have dangerous levels that can cause poisoning. Once you have test results that indicate levels of gas at 4.0 picocuries per liter of air or more, you can contact a Certified Radon Gas Mitigation Specialist who will help devise a system for removing Radon Gas from your home through a series of pipes, vents, and fan. 

Yates County Public Health is part of a New York State Department of Health Radon Gas grant, along with both Schuyler and Steuben County Departments of Health. We provide education and Radon Gas test kits for businesses and residents of our counties FREE of charge. We also can direct anyone who has "actionable" levels of Radon Gas to a NYS listing of Certified Radon Gas Mitigation Specialists. 

Contact Yates County Public Health to obtain more information and FREE Radon Gas test kits. Call 315-536-5160 and speak with the Public Health Educator about Radon Gas.  For more information, go to:  https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/radiological/radon/radonfaq.htm

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