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Radon

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is found in varying levels in every state in America.

Formed by the radioactive breakdown of naturally occurring uranium in rocks and soil, radon can seep into houses through basements and crawl spaces. Radon gas is known to be a cancer-causing agent. According to the U. S. Surgeon General, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the United States. Only cigarette smoking causes more deaths by lung cancer. If you smoke cigarettes and live in a house that has high radon levels, your chances of getting lung cancer are especially high.

Radon test kitBecause any building can have high level of radon, it is important to test your home for radon. Testing is easy and inexpensive. The Health Department has a limited number of free radon test kits available for residents of Boone, Campbell, Grant or Kenton Counties. To request one, please complete this online form.

If radon levels are found to be high, levels can be lowered by fairly simple, low-technology methods, which must be designed and installed by professional contractors to ensure their effectiveness.

If you are building a new home, ask your builder to incorporate radon–resistant features during construction. These features are very inexpensive and simple, and can be easily activated if the home is found to have high radon levels at a later date.

Because radon levels can vary widely from house to house—even in houses on the same street—it is important to test for radon. In new houses, it is best to wait until after the home has been occupied. Winter is a good time to test your home for radon. You spend more time indoors in the winter, thus you are more likely to be exposed to radon in winter months.

Frequently asked questions
Is radon a problem in Northern Kentucky?
Is radon only in the air, or should I test water also?
What are the symptoms of radon exposure?
Is my builder required by law to build radon-resistant features into my house?
Is there a safe level of radon?
How can I test for radon?
Where can I get more information?

Is radon a problem in Northern Kentucky?
High levels of radon have been found in all parts of Northern Kentucky.

Is radon only in the air, or should I test water also?
Radon can enter water through wells, but because there are relatively few wells in Northern Kentucky, and because there is much less risk of health problems from radon exposure through water, the Health Department does not provide for radon water tests at this time.

What are the symptoms of radon exposure?
Although radon exposure does not appear to have to any identifiable short-term symptoms, research has shown that exposure to high radon levels can lead to lung cancer. Further studies reveal that people who smoke and are exposed to high radon levels have an especially high risk of contracting lung cancer. More information about lung cancer symptoms can be found by calling your health care provider.

Is my builder required by law to build radon-resistant features into my house?
Kentucky is not a radon-regulated state, and therefore does not require testing or the use of radon-resistant building techniques.

Is there a safe level of radon?
Although there is no safe level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that if indoor radon levels are above 4pC/L (picoCuries per liter, which is a measure of the amount of radioactivity of the radon gas per liter of air in the tested area), action should be taken to reduce the level of radon.

How can I test for radon?
The Health Department has a limited number of free radon test kits available for residents of Boone, Campbell, Grant or Kenton Counties. To request one, please complete this online form

Where can I get more information?
Kentucky Cabinet for Health Services Radon Program
EPA Indoor Air Quality
Radon Information Center
National Radon Proficiency Program