General Radon Information

Indiana specific radon and radon level information can be found throughout this site. You will be able to find information about certified radon inspectors in Indiana, as well as detailed radon level information for every county in Indiana.

What is radon? It is a invisible, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that is produced by minerals like uranium and radium in the soil.

Although radon is present throughout the environment, when high levels are present indoors people are exposed to more of its radiation and their risk of cancer increases. Such a situation can be discovered easily and corrected.

Radon is the main source of ionizing radiation that most of us are exposed to. Ionizing radiation can harm the cells that make up our body's tissues and organs. The type of radiation that radon produces is mainly an internal hazard - it produces damage when it is gets into the body. The result of such damage is that radon causes cancer in humans.

The World Health Organization, the EPA, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program have all concluded that radon is a known cancer-causing agent in humans. The National Academy of Sciences' Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation VI report (1998) concluded that radon causes between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year in this country. A more recent risk assessment from the EPA states radon causes 21,000 premature cancer deaths each year in the United States (2003). The Surgeon General of the United States has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States - second only to smoking. For non-smokers in this country, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer.

Two standard methods exist for testing a home for the presence of radon gas. Short-term testing methods are designed to provide a quick radon value. Short-term tests can be as short as 48 hours and as long as 90 days. Long-term testing methods are designed to provide an annual average of radon gas. Long-term tests run for a minimum of 90 days, and usually for 6 to 12 months. The EPA recommends performing a short-term test for radon. If that test comes back below the EPA Action Level ( 4.0 pCi/L), then no further immediate action is warranted. However, the home should be tested again after any air sealing work, heating/air conditioning system changes or foundation modifications. If the short-term test returns with a radon value of 4.0-10.0 pCi/L, the EPA recommends performing a long-term test to gauge the home's annual radon concentration. The results of the long-term test should be used to determine the necessity of radon mitigation (reduction). Another option is to conduct a second short term test if quicker results are desired. If the first short-term test returns above 10.0 pCi/L, then the EPA recommends performing a second short-term test to verify the results and using the average of the two short-term tests to determine the necessity of radon mitigation.

The Indoor and Radiological Health (IRH) program has the responsibility of certifying radon testers and mitigators in the State of Indiana, and providing the public of Indiana information about radon and its effects.

According to the following EPA radon risk chart, radon is a serious health problem.

If 1,000 people were exposed to this level over a lifetime their risk getting lung cancer as a result would be ...

20 pCi/L10 pCi/L4 pCi/L2 pCi/L
Radon levelSmokersNever smoked

14% or 135 people0.8% or 8 people

7% or 71 people0.4% or 4 people

3% or 29 people0.2% or 2 people

2% or 15 people0.1% or 1 people

Cigarette smokers should keep their exposure to radon as low as possible. Smokers have eight times the risk from radon as non-smokers. If the house was tested in an infrequently used basement, it may have measured a radon level that is higher than the actual level you are exposed to, spending most of your time upstairs.

People with young children should be more concerned with the possible consequences of radon exposure 20 years from now than someone in their late sixties or seventies.

Families with a hereditary predisposition of cancer should be more concerned about radon exposure than families who don't have any history of cancer.

If you work for a company that might transfer you in the future, your employer probably will hire a relocation company to purchase your home. Today, most relocation companies insist that the house test below 4 pCi/L before they will buy it.