General Radon Information

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

Radon - You canít see it. You canít smell it. You canít taste it.

Radon is a Class A carcinogen and the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon comes from the radioactive breakdown of naturally occurring radium found in most soils. As a gas in the soil, it enters buildings through small openings in the foundation. Since the building can hold the radon similarly to smoke trapped under a glass, indoor radon concentrations can increase to many times that of outdoor levels.

Unlike some indoor air pollutants, radon does not cause headaches, nausea, sneezing, or other visible symptoms. Prolonged exposure to high levels of radon can lead to lung cancer Ė radonís only known health effect. Radon is considered to be the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon causes about 14,000 deaths per year in the United States.

There is no scientific doubt that Radon is a known human lung carcinogen. Prolonged exposure to high levels of Radon gas can cause lung cancer. Millions of homes and buildings contain high levels of radon gas. EPA's efforts are directed at locating the homes with high levels and encouraging remediation of them.

As a means of prevention, EPA and the Office of the Surgeon General recommend that all homes below the third floor be tested for Radon. Because Radon is invisible and odorless, a simple test is the only way to determine if a home has high radon levels. EPA recommends mitigating homes with high Radon levels and there are straight-forward reduction techniques that will work in virtually any home.

Nearly 1 out of 15 homes in the US is estimated to have elevated radon levels.

Most homes won't have a Radon problem, but there are simple tests to find out if you do or don't have high Radon levels in your home. Mitigation is often easy and relatively inexpensive. Radon preventative building techniques are a cost-effective method of preventing radon in new construction.

Test results from nearby homes cannot be relied upon to predict the radon level in your home. A properly performed radon test within the house is the only way to find out if a radon problem exists. Performing such a test on your own is easy, inexpensive and can be done privately. Such tests also can be conducted by a licensed radon tester prior to a purchase or by the buyer after moving in when they become the home owner.

Western North Dakota contains several areas of known radioactive mineral deposits. Investigations done from the late 1940s to the late 1970s discovered several large areas of increased radioactivity in Bowman, Slope, Stark, Billings, and Golden Valley counties. Uranium and other radioactive elements were often found associated with beds of lignite. It is theorized by many geologists that these radioactive elements were released during the alteration of volcanic glass. These radioactive elements were then leached by groundwater into the underlying rocks until a change in pH and or Eh caused them to precipitate, often in a coal or organic-rich lenses in sandstone. Early on it was noted that radioactive lignites often were overlain by sandstones.

In recent years, the uranium deposits of North Dakota have been investigated as potential health hazards. Elevated radon levels near these deposits is also a concern. These mines operated without any reclamation laws and the open pits were left when the sites were abandoned. In the 1980's and early 1990's, the North Dakota Public Service Commission reclaimed these sites for health reasons by burying the most radioactive material in the bottom of the pits and leveling the surface. Studies have also been conducted by the Department of Energy into the spread and potential health risks of radioactive dust that spread from the uraniferous lignite burn sites, both at the mines and the Belfield and Bowman kiln sites.