THE LOWDOWN ON RADON
Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, your home should be tested for radon and treated if the radon level exceeds 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). “Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. If you have never smoked, Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer. Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that seeps into your home from underground, and the only way you can tell if you have dangerous levels of Radon in your home is to test for it.” -U.S. Surgeon General's Warning
RADON IN ERIE COUNTY & NEW YORK STATE
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is in high concentrations in much of New York State due to high amounts of granite bedrock. The New York State Department of Health has classified Erie County as a high risk area for radon exposure. Click below to view the Erie County radon map which includes radon levels by town.
Other counties in New York State that are high risk areas for radon exposure are as follows:
Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Genesee, Greene, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Washington, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates.
Until you test your home for radon, you won’t know how much radon exposure you’re getting. Make it a priority to test your home. This way, you can make an educated decision on whether or not to install a radon mitigation system. Radon testing is inexpensive and you can do it yourself. Test kits are available at local home improvement stores for under $20. They often charge an additional fee for lab processing so be sure to calculate that in when you’re shopping. If you prefer professional help, call a licensed home inspector who can perform the testing for you. It usually costs around $100.
NEW & FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS
Buying a new home is exciting and can come with many emotional highs and lows. Navigating the process of finding a home, placing an offer, getting it under contract, inspecting the home and closing on the house is a huge undertaking. Despite there being so much to consider, make sure radon is one of them. You can include radon testing in your purchase offer to ensure the seller allows your home inspector the time and access to perform the testing. You can also make your offer contingent on the home inspection. Therefore, if your dream home turns out to have excessive radon, you can possibly negotiate a radon remediation system to be installed, or even back out of the deal without losing your deposit. If you recently purchased a home and didn’t test for radon, it’s of course never too late. Pick up a test kit today or call your licensed home inspector for help.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON RADON
EPA Home Buyer’s and
Seller’s Guide to Radon
EPA Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction How to Fix Your Home
Protect Your Family from Radon - A Guild for New York State Residents
American Cancer Society - Radon and Cancer