Tioga County declares January ‘National Radon Action Month,’ educating residents on importance of radon testing

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 11:47 PM EST
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OWEGO (WBNG) -- The Tioga County Legislature has declared January 2022 as “National Radon Action Month” to help spread awareness of the importance of radon testing.

Tioga County is one of five counties in New York state that has the highest levels of radon -- a leading cause for lung cancer deaths among non-smokers in the country.

Environmental Sanitarian of Tioga County Public Health, Al Knapp, said radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and invisible gas that comes from radium in rocks and soil. The natural gas can get into buildings through cracks in floors and walls.

“Radon is a natural element that’s found everywhere, so it’s something that we’re always exposed to. Outside the picocurie levels are 0.4 and its half life is faster,” said Knapp. “It’s dissipated so we don’t come into contact with it as much outside. It’s only when we get into closed environments that this becomes an issue.”

Knapp said lung cancer caused from radon exposure claims the lives of over 20,000 people each year. He said it is important for the community to educate themselves on radon testing to help prevent possible exposure that could lead to serious health risks.

To schedule and appointment for free radon testing, residents can contact Tioga County Public Health at 607-687-8600. Radon tests can also be found at local hardware stores.