General Radon Information

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

Radon comes from the natural radioactive decay of radium and uranium found in the soil beneath the house. The amount of radon in the soil depends on soil chemistry, which varies from one house to the next. Radon levels in the soil range from a few hundred to several thousands of pCi/L.

Any home may have a radon problem from such sources as:

1. Cracks in solid floors

2. Construction joints

3. Cracks in walls

4. Gaps in suspended floors

5. Gaps around service pipes

6. Spaces inside walls

7. The water supply

Generally, radon is not a problem with public drinking water systems because during the water treatment process aeration releases dissolved radon to the atmosphere. However, if the water supply is from a private well, radon levels could be unacceptably high. The recommendation is to test the well water if the air radon concentrations in the occupied dwelling are over 4pCi/l. If you have tested the air in your home and found a radon problem and your water comes from a private well, you should test the water. (Look in the yellow pages for a lab certified to measure radiation in water.)

There is little disagreement that breathing the hundreds of pCi/L of radon that caused thousands of uranium miners to get fatal lung cancer is definitely harmful. Many scientists disagree with the EPA about what the level of radon should be before it should be reduced.

The EPA studied the lung cancer risk of uranium miners exposed to 400 pCi/L. They assume the risk of a homeowner exposed to 4 pCi/L to be one hundredth as much. Based on this assumption, the EPA guideline level of 4 pCi/L represents a much greater risk than allowed for other environmental pollutants.

Some common myths about radon:

MYTH: Scientists are not sure that radon really is a problem.

FACT: Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all the major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association) agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers, since the risk to smokers is much greater than to non-smokers.

MYTH: Radon testing is difficult, time-consuming and expensive.

FACT: Radon testing is inexpensive and relatively easy -- it should take only a little of your time. However, follow the directions carefully to assure an accurate, reliable measurement of radon.

MYTH: I've lived in my home for so long, it doesn't make sense to take action now.

FACT: You will reduce your risk of lung cancer when you reduce radon levels, even if you've lived with a radon problem for a long time.

MYTH: Radon is only a problem in certain parts of the country.

FACT: High radon levels have been found in every state.

MYTH: A neighbor's test result is a good indication of whether your home has a problem.

FACT: Radon levels vary greatly from home to home. The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test it.

MYTH: Everyone should test his or her water for radon.

FACT: While it is true that everyone with a well should test their water for radon, anyone who gets their water from a town/public water supply does not need to test the water. The people in charge of the town/public water supply are already taking care of radon, along with many other possible contaminants. If you have questions about your towns water, call your water supplier.

MYTH: Short-term tests cannot be used for making a decision about whether to fix your home.

FACT: Short term tests can be used to decide whether to fix your home, and for higher radon levels (8 pCi/l or higher) that is all that should be used. Keep in mind that, even though the action level is 4, this is not a "safe" level and that radon levels below 4 pCi/l still pose some risk. Radon levels in most homes can be reduced to 2 pCi/l or less.

MYTH: Homes with radon problems can't be fixed, or can't be fixed economically.

FACT: There are solutions to radon problems in homes. Thousands of homeowners have already fixed radon problems in their homes. Radon levels can be readily lowered for $900 to $2,500.

MYTH: Radon affects only certain kinds of homes.

FACT: House construction can affect radon levels. However, radon can be a problem in homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements and homes without basements.

MYTH: It is difficult to sell homes where radon problems have been discovered.

FACT: Many types of problems can hinder a home sale, but when the problems are fixed before the home is listed, the sales are not slowed down. It is the same for radon. All homes should be tested for radon, and those with problems fixed before being listed for sale.

On January 30, 2006, Governor Sebelius signed a proclamation designating the month of January as Kansas Radon Action Month. She encouraged testing of homes, schools and work sites for radon to minimize the risks associated with long-term exposure to this health hazard.

Consumers can purchase radon test kits for their homes from a number of outlets. The Kansas Radon Program distributes short-term radon test kits through the Kansas State University Research and Extension service. Consumers can contact their count Extension office and inquire about availability and costs, which are under $10, inclusive of all costs. Most home improvement stores also stock or can order a variety of test kit brands. Additionally, radon test kits can be purchased directly from the manufacturers, many of whom are listed elsewhere on this website.

Residents can also obtain a list of certified testers and radon mitigation contractors is also available from the state program office by calling the Kansas Radon Hotline: 1-800-693-KDHE. Additionally, the American Lung Association HelpLine is an excellent source of clear and accurate information on radon and other lung health issues. The HelpLine is unique in having professional, credentialed staff qualified to answer questions. Free counseling with registered nurses, respiratory therapists and quit-smoking specialists is available by calling (800) LUNG-USA. The line is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST. TTY for hearing impaired is available at (800) 501-1068.