Radon Testing

Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless radioactive gas that causes lung cancer. Between five and ten percent of the homes in Wisconsin have radon levels above the US EPA guideline of 4 pCi/L for the year average on the main floor. Every region of Wisconsin has some homes with elevated radon levels.

The only way to know the radon level in a house is to measure it. For more information on radon and radon testing, please see our brochure or the following websites:

What Is Radon?

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas.
You can't see it, smell it or taste it, but radon may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. When breathing air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. Homes with smokers and high radon levels have a much higher risk of lung cancer.

Radon can be found all over the U.S.
Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building — homes, offices, and schools — and result in a high indoor radon level. People are most likely to get the greatest exposure at home, where they spend most of their time.

You should test for radon.
Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. EPA also recommends testing in schools. Testing is inexpensive and easy — it should only take a few minutes of your time. Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for radon.

How Does Radon Get Into Your Home?

Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.

Radon Gets in Through:

  1. Cracks in foundation floors
  2. Construction joints
  3. Cracks in foundation walls
  4. Gaps around service pipes
  5. The water supply

Testing for Radon

Short-Term Testing:

The quickest way to test is with a short-term test. Short-term tests remain in your home for 2-4 days. Because radon levels tend to vary from day to day and season to season, a short-term test is less likely to tell you your year-round average radon level. If you need results quickly, a short-term test followed by a second short-term test may be used to decide whether to fix your home.

Long-Term Testing:

Long-term tests remain in your home for more than 90 days. A long-term test will give you a reading that is more likely to tell you your home's year-round average radon level.

Test Kits:

The Racine County Public Health Division has short-term and long-term radon test kits available for purchase.

  • Short-Term Radon Test - $10.00
  • Long-Term Radon Test - $20.00

Kits are also available at some hardware stores and other retail outlets.

EPA Recommendations

Step 1. Take a short-term test. If your result is 4 pCi/L or higher, take a follow-up test (Step 2) to be sure.

Step 2. Follow up with either a long-term test or a second short-term test:

  • If the first results were between 4.0-7.9, then test with a long-term test.
  • If the first results were greater than 7.9, then test with a short-term test.

Step 3. If the results of the second test are 4.0 or greater, then your home should be fixed to reduce the radon level.