Radon – The Unseen Danger To North Dakota’s Health

There’s an unwelcome and uninvited guest lurking in homes throughout our state. It’s radon—an invisible, odorless, cancer-causing gas produced by decaying uranium in rock and soil that releases into the air. Radon is a known carcinogen and prolonged exposure to high levels can cause lung cancer. In fact, it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

North Dakota ranks as one of only two states that has all its counties in the EPA’s Zone 1 ranking—the highest ranking for potential contamination. That’s why it’s critically important to get your home tested right away so that you can take the corrective action needed to protect you and your family from radon’s harmful effects.

Radon continually seeps into the air from the ground. While radon harmlessly disperses outside at low levels, it can become trapped inside buildings and build up into harmful concentrations. People are most likely to get their greatest exposure at home, where they spend most of their time—especially now, during the winter months.

Radon can find its way inside through:

  • Cracks in concrete slabs
  • Spaces behind brick veneer walls
  • Pores and cracks in concrete blocks or walls
  • Floor wall joints
  • Weeping drain tile, if drained to open sump
  • Mortar joints
  • Loose-fitting pipe penetrations
  • Open tops of block walls
  • Building materials such as some rocks
  • Water (from some wells)

Testing is the only way to know your home’s radon level. And it’s not just a basement problem. The EPA and Surgeon General recommend testing below the third floor for radon. A simple test will determine if your home has high radon levels. To get your radon test kit, check out your local hardware stores or these test kit supplier links:

If your radon test comes back showing high levels of radon in your home, take action to reduce it. The good news is that radon mitigation systems can effectively manage high radon levels. You can install the systems by yourself but it’s better to hire a qualified radon mitigation contractor in your area. That way, you’ll get the peace of mind of knowing that your radon mitigation system is properly installed to reduce radon gas, safely vent it outside and keep your family safe.


North Dakota State Radon Resources & Information
American Lung Association Radon Health Effects
EPA Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction
Radon Information
A Citizen’s Guide to Radon
Radon in Newly Built Homes
Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon
Radon Awareness