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Understanding Radon Mitigation -  Information and Instructional Videos

WHO WANTS TO BREATHE RADON AIR? an interactive game
to print certificate


Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas.  It is created during the natural breakdown of Uranium within the soil and rock.  The decay chain for Radon is demonstrated below and includes the half life of each element and whether it is an alpha or beta particle emitter.   



Radon is a known carcinogen, which means prolonged exposure to high levels of Radon gas can cause cancer.  In fact, the Surgeon General has declared Radon to be the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. 

Radon gas continually seeps into the air from the ground.  Concentrations are low outside due to dilution of the ambient air.  In poorly ventilated areas and enclosed spaces, radon concentrations can build up. 

Four conditions must be present to enable radon to enter your home. Two of these are geological; there must be uranium in the soil as a source material, and there must be permeable soil which allows radon to move through it to your basement or crawlspace. The other two conditions are determined by the house and its construction. There must be pathways for radon to enter the basement, such as holes, cracks, plumbing penetrations, or sumps (found in every foundation), and there must be an air pressure difference between the basement or crawl space and the surrounding soil. If the air pressure is lower indoors than in the soil, air and gases in the soil will enter. All four conditions must be present to have radon. If you reduce any one, less radon will enter your home. The last two conditions, determined by the house and its construction, are the key ones for mitigation


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.

Most homes won't have a Radon problem, but there is a simple test to find out if you do or don't have high Radon levels in your home.

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What is Radon?

Radon fact sheet (pdf)

A Citzen's Guide to Radon - EPA (pdf)

Map of Radon Zones - EPA (pdf)

Facts you should know before buying a home

Real Estate Fact Sheet (pdf)

Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon - EPA (pdf)

How to fix a radon problem

Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction - EPA (pdf)

Building Radon Out - A Step-by-Step Guide On How To Build Radon Resistant Homes - EPA (pdf)

Radon Reduction for Existing Detached Houses - EPA (pdf - 32Mb)

Passive Radon Control System for New Construction - EPA (pdf)

Who can test and fix my home?

List of Radon Mitigators and Measurement Personnel Located in North Dakota (pdf)

Radon Poster Contest

2013 Radon Contest - Winners



Additional Information

EPA's Radon Home Page

American Lung Association

National Environmental Health Association National Radon Proficiency Program

Summary of Radon Surveys in North Dakota 1988-1993

National Radon Safety Board

Radon Test Kit Suppliers

Alpha Energy

EMSL Analytical



Radon Mitigation Suppliers

Infiltec radon mitigation services


Radon Measurement and Mitigation Training

Center for Environmental Research and Technology Institute (CERTI)

Midwest Universities Radon Consortium (MURC)

Professional Home Inspection Institute

Western Regional Radon Training Center



Contact Information

  • Justin Otto - North Dakota Department of Health
  • Electronic mail address: jotto@nd.gov
  • Office phone: 701.328.5188

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