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New York Wadsworth Center Laboratory Provides Radon Outreach

by Margaret Henderson

New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Center’s mission is “Science in the Pursuit of Health,” serving as the state’s public health laboratory. The lab conducts analyses, research, investigations and educational outreach. In its radon outreach, through the New York State Department of Health Radon Monitoring Program, the lab provides data mapping and resources for the public.

Using data from 1986 and 2007 of more than 45,000 basement screening measurements and more than 11,000 long-term living area measurements, the lab has compiled maps on the percentages of residences with respect to radon levels. This data came from the detector distribution program of New York State Department of Health. The lab notes “Because this type of data does not significantly change over time, it is still valuable today.” The information is provided to give reference information and encourage testing and mitigation.

The mapping is based on a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory program that estimates the percentage of homes with radon levels greater than 4 pCi/L (USEPA recommended action level) considering uncertainties. Where few measurements were made, the estimates come from radon correlations with surface geology.

Two county maps have been published on the website:

* Short-term (2 – 7 days) basement measurements of radon

* Long-term (90 days – 1 year) living area measurements

The maps display, by county, the percentages of homes greater than 4 pCi/L and with estimates for towns and cities in each county also given. Statewide results are:

* Basement estimate for homes above 4 pCi/L is 18%.

* Long-term living area estimate for homes above 4 pCi/L is 5%.

See https://www.wadsworth.org/programs/ehs/nuclear-chem/radon.

The laboratory website also provides information about radon:

* Testing

* Mitigation

* Awareness

* Studies

* Information for professionals and lay persons

* Government reference sites

For more information on radon in New York:

https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/radiological/radon/contact_info.htm

518-402-7556 800-458-1158 radon@health.ny.gov