The program on the health risks of radium and radon in the Hakes C&D Landfill in Steuben County and the Chemung County Landfill, Saturday, March 28 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. has been changed to a webinar.

Dr. David Carpenter and Dr. Raymond Vaughan will speak about the evidence of high levels of radium and radon in the landfills’ leachate test results and what these levels mean for the health of workers at the landfills and people living downwind or downstream from the landfills.

Register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8533019877742431499

The Chemung Landfill and the Hakes Landfill are the two landfills in New York taking the greatest volume of drill cuttings from gas drilling operations in the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania. The leachate test results for both landfills show significant levels of radium and radon breakdown products.

“At this point in time, the greatest health risks from radioactivity in these landfills likely come from exposures to the radon gas that is being emitted from the landfills’ gas flaring and venting systems and to the radon-breakdown products that are formed in the environment when the radon decays,” said Dr. Carpenter. "To quantify these risks, radon testing needs to be conducted at these landfills."

Dr. David Carpenter is currently Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany. He previously served as Dean of the School of Public Health at the University at Albany from 1985 to 1998. From 1973 to 1980 he served as Chair of the Neurobiology Department of the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, the research arm of the Defense Nuclear Agency, where he directed and performed research on the health effects of ionizing radiation. Because of that background and because of the concern of effects of ionizing radiation resulting from the Three Mile Island nuclear plant incident, in 1980 he was appointed as the Director of the Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research of the New York State Department of Health, where in addition to his other responsibilities he continued research on health effects of ionizing radiation, funded in most part by the Defense Nuclear Agency.

Dr. Raymond Vaughan is a licensed professional geologist and environmental scientist in Buffalo. His familiarity with the physical and quantitative properties of radionuclides and the alpha, beta, and gamma radiation they emit is based partly on work relating to radionuclides that he performed between 2000-2012 when he was employed as an Environmental Scientist at the NYS Attorney General’s Office, partly on consulting work he has done to review and interpret radiological test results, and partly on technically-oriented volunteer work he has performed for several decades as a member of the Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes (1978-2006) and as a member of the West Valley Citizen Task Force (1997-present). He was appointed to the West Valley Citizen Task Force by the U.S. Department of Energy and the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration (NYSERDA).

The program is sponsored by the Sierra Club, People for a Healthy Environment, Inc. and Concerned Citizens of Allegany County, Inc. The webinar is free and members of the public are welcome to attend. Registration for the webinar is required.