General Radon Information

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

Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is responsible for an estimated 10 percent of lung cancer deaths. This colorless, odorless gas occurs everywhere at low levels, but it becomes a concern when it is trapped in buildings with little ventilation. Radon gas may enter homes built on soils or rocks containing high levels of uranium, which is the most common source of the gas, or through cracks or other openings in basements or ground floors. Studies by the EPA indicate that as many as 10 percent of U.S. homes may have elevated radon levels.

Radon gas usually moves from the ground up and migrates into homes and buildings through cracks and other holes in their foundations. The buildings trap radon inside, where it accumulates and may become a health hazard if the building is not properly ventilated. Elevated levels of radon in ground waters will contribute to the levels indoors as radon outgases during water use.

Vermont law does not require a radon test as part of a real estate transaction. However, if radon testing has been done in the past, the buyer must be notified. For real estate transactions or other cases where a quick test is needed, the Health Department Laboratory, private labs and building supply stores sell short-term detectors.

For real estate transactions, short-term testing may be conducted in the basement if the buyer plans to use it as a living space. If you are using short-term test kits, the federal Environmental Protection Agency recommends using two testing devices, placed side-by-side. EPA's Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon.

U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona has warned the American public about the risks of breathing indoor radon by issuing a national health advisory meant to urge Americans to prevent this silent radioactive gas from seeping into their homes and building up to dangerous levels. Dr. Carmona issued the advisory during a two-day Surgeon General's Workshop on Healthy Indoor Environment.

"Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the county," Dr. Carmona said. "It's important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques."

Radon gas in the indoor air of America's homes poses a serious health risk. More than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer every year. Millions of homes have an elevated radon level. If you also smoke, your risk of lung cancer is much higher. Test your home for radon every two years, and retest any time you move, make structural changes to your home, or occupy a previously unused level of a house. If you have a radon level of 4 pCi/L or more, take steps to remedy the problem as soon as possible.

"Americans need to know about the risks of indoor radon and have the information and tools they need to take action. That's why EPA is actively promoting the Surgeon General's advice urging all Americans to get their homes tested for radon. If families do find elevated levels in their homes, they can take inexpensive steps that will reduce exposure to this risk," said Jeffrey R. Holmstead, Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"Based on national averages, we can expect that many of the homes owned or financed by federal government programs would have potentially elevated radon levels. The federal government has an opportunity to lead by example on this public health risk. We can accomplish this by using the outreach and awareness avenues we have, such as EPA's Web site, to share information and encourage action on radon to reduce risks," said Edwin Piņero, Federal Environmental Executive, Office of the Federal Environmental Executive (OFEE).

A national Public Service Announcement (PSA) that was released to television stations across America in January, National Radon Action Month, is reinforcing this recently updated health advisory. In the television spot, the camera scans a neighborhood with rooftop banners that remind the occupants of the importance to test their homes for radon. The television PSA can be viewed at: http://www.epa.gov/radon/rnpsa.html.

The Surgeon General's Workshop on Healthy Indoor Environment is bringing together the best scientific minds in the nation to discuss the continuing problem of unhealthful buildings. Indoor environments are structures including workplaces, schools, offices, houses and apartment buildings, and vehicles. According to a recent study, Americans spend between 85 and 95 percent of their time indoors.