October 20, 2021

County to consider radon website

The creation of a radon website for the county would provide people easier access to information and educational items about radon in order to take steps toward reducing exposure to radon in Cortland County.

The Cortland County Health and Human Services Committee will meet Thursday to discuss and vote on authorizing the county Health Department to pay $950 to Kate Smith Designs, 67 Madison St., Cortland, to design a Radon-Free Cortland website by the end of the year.

The money would come from a grant funds, according to committee documents.

Public Health Sanitarian Derek Green said he fully supports the idea and thinks it will only benefit the community more.

“It’s really good to have that knowledge available to the public, what a better way than to have a specific website,” Green said. “We’re really trying to get the word out there.”

Cortland County homes have the highest average basement and first floor readings of radon levels in New York. Cortland County has been designated as a high radon risk area by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Health.

In the United States, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and the No. 1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. The EPA estimates lung cancer due to radon exposure kills 21,000 people a year.

Radon is found naturally in the rocks and dirt in the ground, but the problem arises when radon gas seeps in through cracks or gaps. The radioactive particles can get trapped in the lungs, irritating lung tissue and damaging DNA.

The only way to know the radon levels in a home is to test. Radon levels can vary greatly; even from home to home in the same neighborhood. Radon levels can be lowered through mitigation and new homes can be built radon-resistant.

Also on Thursday, the Agriculture and Planning Committee meeting will meet to vote on several items related to the Innovative Readiness Training program coming to Cortland County.

Legislators agreed to use Homer School District’s facility after the school district donated the use of its intermediate school for the event. The event is set to take place July 12 to 20 at Homer Intermediate School.

The event will see 400 military medical providers come to Cortland to provide free medical and veterinary services. It is the second year IRT will visit Cortland. The last time was in 2016.

The committee will also vote to authorize a memorandum of understanding with Southern Tier 8 regional planning board, which will “provide the framework for partnership” between the regional board and 2019 Healthy Cortland IRT, according to the resolution.

The regional board has agreed to provide 300 hours of staff support and up to $20,000 of reimbursable grant funding for the project.

Lastly, the board will consider an agreement with Sunbelt Rentals to provide portable air conditioning for the event. Not all of Homer Intermediate School has air conditioning.

All the resolutions would then go June 27 before the full Legislature.