Acting State Health Commissioner Reminds New Yorkers to Stay Protected Against Dangers of Radon

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 15, 2015) -- In observance of National Radon Action Month, acting New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker today reminded New Yorkers about the importance of testing their homes for radon, which, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States annually.

"The dangers of radon exposure make it essential for New Yorkers to test for this gas to keep themselves and their families safe," Dr. Zucker said. "Testing is simple and inexpensive. I urge everyone to start the New Year by ensuring that this silent killer is not hiding somewhere in your home."

Radon gas results from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It occurs naturally in the earth, but can become a problem when it builds up indoors. It enters a home through cracks and openings in the foundation floor and walls, and through openings around sump pumps.

Approximately 37 percent of the basements tested in New York State have elevated radon levels.
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 and tested again after remodeling, weatherizing or following radon mitigation. Low-cost test kits are available through the New York State Department of Health's (DOH) Radon Program.

If a test shows elevated levels of radon, simple, inexpensive techniques may be all that is needed to reduce radon levels. Contractors who have met radon-mitigation requirements and can effectively address homes with a radon problem are located throughout the state. Additionally, for those planning to build a new home, consider the efficient and cost-effective radon-resistant new construction techniques, which are outlined in DOH's brochure "Build a Green Home! Radon Resistant New Construction." The brochure is available online at

Also, as part of National Radon Action Month, DOH will display posters submitted statewide by children ages 9-14. Members of sponsoring clubs such as 4-H, scouting organizations, or computer, art or science clubs can also participate.

Posters will be displayed on the Empire State Plaza Concourse from January 12 through January 22. Additionally, on January 12 and January 22, DOH staff will be available from 10 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., answering questions and distributing low cost test kits. They will be located on the east side of the Concourse between the Corning Tower and the New York State Police Station.

To learn more about radon and radon testing, visit:, or contact the DOH Radon Program at 518-402-7556 or