Radon is a naturally occurring,
invisible, odorless gas that is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air,
but when trapped in buildings can reach harmful elevated levels.
Radon is thought to cause up to 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year
in the United States.
Radon gas originates when uranium breaks down
giving off a radioactive gas. Since small amounts of uranium
are common in many Wisconsin soils, radon is also common in
Wisconsin’s homes. While radon is more common in some areas of the
state than others, radon levels high enough to cause concern have
been found in homes in all Wisconsin counties.
gas diffuses, as does any gas, by flowing along the path of least
resistance to the earth’s surface and then to the atmosphere. Common
entry paths for radon include earth floors, sump pump wells, floor
drains, and gaps in floors and around pipes, visible and microscopic
cracks, holes left from form ties, construction joints and hollow
concrete block walls.
does not cause direct respiratory problems, headaches or other
immediate health problems. However, prolonged exposure
increases the chances of lung cancer. The EPA has determined
that an average lifetime exposure of four pCi/L gives nonsmokers two
chances in a thousand of dying from lung cancer. The higher
the life time exposure the greater the risk of lung cancer is.
The risk to tobacco smokers from radon exposure is dramatically
Radon testing kits are available
at the health department for a
cost of $8.00
- Cracks in concrete slabs.
- Spaces behind brick veneer
walls that rest on uncapped hollow-block foundations.
- Pores and cracks in concrete
- Floor-wall joints.
- Exposed soil, as in a sump
or crawl space.
- Weeping (drain) tile, if
drained to an open sump.
- Mortar joints.
- Loose fitting pipe
- Open tops of block walls.
- Building materials, such as
brick, concrete, rock (shale, granite).
- Well water (not commonly a
major source in most Wisconsin homes).
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Wisconsin Department of Health Services Radon Site
Radon Mitigators in Wisconsin