The lead agency for radon activities in North Carolina is the NC Radiation Protection Section (RPS) of the Division of Health Service Regulation of the Department of Health and Human Services. This agency is the main point of contact for radon activities to the citizens of this state.
The responsibilities of RPS include radioactive material license inspections, electronic products radiation evaluations (mammography, tanning and X-rays machines), environmental radiation monitoring and nuclear emergency preparedness. The Environmental group of RPS performs statewide environmental monitoring and emergency preparedness around nuclear facilities and statewide background radiation detection. For more information visit the Radiation Protection Section. RPS is the sole state recipient for the EPA State Indoor Radon Grant (SIRG). RPS uses this grant to fund the NC Radon Program which is involved in public information, residential and school monitoring projects and acts in a technical advisory capacity for other State and county agencies involved in radon gases.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is formed when uranium decays in the soil. Uranium is in geological formations throughout North Carolina. When homes or other buildings are built on top of these geological formations, radon is pulled into the home and can concentrate to dangerous levels. Exposure to radon gas has been found to cause lung cancer.
Every home in North Carolina is prone to having a level of radon gas and the N.C. Radon Program recommends that ALL HOMES be tested. This includes apartments, mobile homes, homes with basements, and homes without basements. Radon gas is natural and comes from the l decay of uranium found in rocks, soil and building materials such as concrete. Testing your home for radon gas will help you determine the amount of radon you may be breathing.
Testing your home for radon is as simple as opening a package, placing a radon detector in a designated area, and after the prescribed number of days (usually 2-7 days), sealing the detector back in the package and mailing it to a lab for evaluation. Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L), a measurement of radioactivity. The U.S. EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that homes with radon levels at or above 4 pCi/L be repaired to reduce the amount of radon entering the indoor air.
You may also have a trained and certified radon service professional conduct the measurement in your home. It is highly recommended that anyone having their home measured or mitigated for radon have it done by someone that is certified by either the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) or the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB). The EPA recognizes these two agencies for certification purposes.
Step 1: Test your home using 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: For a better understanding of your year-round average radon level, take a long-term test. If you need results quickly, take a second short-term test. Note: The higher your initial short-term test result, the more certain you can be that you should take another short-term test rather than a long-term follow up test. If your first short-term test result is more than twice EPA’s 4 pCi/L action level, you should take a second short-term test immediately.
Step 3: If you followed up with a long-term test: Fix your home if your long-term test result is 4.0 pCi/L or more.
If you followed up with a second short-term test: The higher your short-term results, the more certain you can be that you should fix your home.
Fix your home if the average of your first and second test is 4 pCi/L or higher. Many homes can be mitigated to 2 pCi/L or lower, consider fixing your home if the levels are 2-4 pCi/L.
You may purchase a short-term test at the our website. Instructions will be included in the test kit order.
Radon causes lung cancer and very rarely stomach cancer. There are no other proven human health consequences from exposure to radon gas. Exposure to radon in the home is responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
Risk for lung cancer is dependent on the concentration amount you are exposed to, the duration or length of time you are exposed to radon gas, and whether you smoke or do not smoke.
A Citizen's Guide to Radon produced by the Environmental Protection Agency provides additional information about the health impacts resulting from human exposure to radon gas.
The data displayed is NOT to be used as a measure of predicting whether an untested home does or does not have radon. The NC Radon Program supports the standing of the US Environmental Protection Agency that every home should be tested in order to know that home’s radon level. In zip codes with few radon results, there is low confidence that the reported average is representative of radon levels in that area. This map is only for informational purposes.
The radon test data displayed on this map was obtained from the laboratories of multiple manufacturers of short- and long-term radon test kits from 1996 to present. All test results are from do-it-yourself test kits conducted by homeowners or radon measurement professionals. The NC Radon Program of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is unable to verify the validity of the testing protocols or the physical location where the test was reported to have been conducted. Multiple radon tests conducted in one location have not been removed or averaged. Therefore the results do NOT represent a statistical survey.