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Protect yourself from radon and carbon monoxide | Rare Techy


Molly Burke Special to The Citizen

The temperature is starting to drop, which means winter is coming. It looks like your home’s windows are closed, air conditioners are turned off, and drafts are sealed. Unfortunately, some “silent killers” are still lurking in the air in your home – carbon monoxide and radon.

CO is known as a silent killer because it is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas. Individuals should be aware of this gas and the sources of CO in their home, as it can be dangerous to human health and safety. It is produced by common household appliances, such as fireplaces, water heaters, furnaces and other large appliances. If these appliances are not properly ventilated, CO will accumulate in your house or garage, and CO poisoning can occur if you breathe in this silent killer. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, lethargy, weakness, upset stomach/vomiting, chest pain and confusion. If you experience these symptoms, we recommend that you go outside in the fresh air and contact your healthcare provider.

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One of the best ways to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning is to install a battery powered CO detector in your home. Some CO detectors come with a sealed battery that can last up to 10 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends the following to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

• Make sure all fuel burning appliances are properly ventilated to prevent CO from building up in your home.

• Have your chimney inspected or cleaned annually. Chimneys can become clogged with debris, causing CO to build up in your home.

• Never drive your car or truck into a garage attached to a building, even if the garage door is open.

Radon is similar to CO in that it is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. Radon is a radioactive, radioactive gas that can be found in nearly every soil in every part of the United States. They enter your home through cracks and other holes in the home’s foundation or pipes. If the air isn’t right, it gets trapped inside and gets into the air we breathe.

Radon is a major concern during the colder months, when windows are closed and fresh air is limited in our homes. This is also the end of fall and winter is the best time of year to test for radon. The US Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Health have designated Cayuga County as a high-risk radon area. Therefore, the Cayuga County Health Department is strongly urging all Cayuga County residents to test their homes for radon this winter. If your home has high levels of radon (4pCi/L or higher), the EPA recommends having your home radon remedied by a licensed professional.

For more information on carbon monoxide or radon, visit the CDC’s websites:

• CO:

• Radon:

Healthy Living Program

From right, Nadia Yosuf, Emerson Bolha and Auburn firefighter Michael Snelson knock on doors in Auburn in 2016 as part of the Health Care Initiative.

The People file

If you do not have a carbon monoxide detector in your home or would like to have your home tested for radon, contact the Cayuga County Healthy Neighborhoods Program. This program provides free home assessments to ensure people are living in a healthy environment. Based on the evaluation of the living environment, residents are provided with information, educational materials and supplies to help create a healthier and safer living environment. This program can also provide referrals to partner agencies to prepare a healthy home. The program is available free of charge to all residents of the city of Auburn, the city of Mentz and the city of Montezuma. Call (315) 253-1560, visit or scan the QR code to schedule your free Healthy Neighborhoods visit today!

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How safe is your home?  The program offers free home inspections in Cayuga County

AUBURN – Wearing bright blue buckets and green fabric bags, a small group of college students, firefighters and health officials gathered to t…

Molly Burke, MPH, is a public health educator with the Cayuga County Health Department. For more information, contact the department at (315) 253-1560, visit or like and follow the department on Facebook and Instagram at @CayugaCountyHealthDept.


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