General Radon Information

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

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It is released during the natural decay of uranium, which is found in most rock and soil and its occurrence in the state is influenced primarily by geology. Although certain areas of the state are more likely to encounter radon problems than other areas, radon is a house-to-house issue. You may live in an area of low radon potential yet; your house can have elevated radon while your neighbor's house has no radon. Radon is odorless, invisible, and without taste, and cannot be detected with the human senses. The only way to detect it is to test for it.

Radon is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas, with no immediate health symptoms, that comes from the breakdown of uranium inside the earth. Simple test kits can reveal the amount of radon in any building. Those with high levels can be fixed with simple and affordable venting techniques.

Any home may have a radon problem from such sources as cracks in solid floors, construction joints, cracks in walls, gaps in suspended floors, gaps around service pipes, spaces inside walls, and the water supply.

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 radon gas from seeping into their homes and building up to dangerous levels.

"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."

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates, one in every 15 homes nationwide have a high radon level at or above the recommended radon action level of 4 picoCuries (pCi/L) per liter of air.

In 1989 and 1990-91, Nevada conducted radon surveys to determine the extent of elevated radon concentrations in homes.

In the 1990 survey 307 homes were evaluated utilizing short-term radon detectors. Of the 307 homes, 20 percent exceeded the U.S. EPA's recommended remedial action level of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/l) of air. This compared closely to the later and more extensive survey of 1990-1991. In the latter survey, 2,048 homes were surveyed and the remedial action level was exceeded in 19 percent. However, on the basis of numbers of households, population centers were sampled less intensively than rural areas. For example, only 12 percent of the homes sampled were in Clark County where more than half of the state's population lived. When weighted to compensate for variability in sampling intensity (giving more weight to urban data), the data indicate that about 10 percent of Nevadans live in houses with radon levels exceeding 4 pCi/l.

More specifically, there is a cluster of cities and towns in west-central Nevada with a relatively high proportion of elevated radon measurements, which may be due to the proximity of granitic rocks in the local mountain ranges. In central Nevada, the town of Austin is surrounded by granitic rocks, and the mountain ranges surrounding the town of Lovelock contain some granitic rocks.

Because of their relatively high uranium contents silicic volcanic rocks have the potential to generate significant soil radon. However, studies in other areas have not yet demonstrated a close connection between silicic volcanic rocks and high levels of radon in buildings. However, based on some of the radon data collected in Nevada over the past two years and on some geochemical analyses, it appears that elevated indoor radon levels found in some Nevada communities may be due to certain kinds of volcanic rocks. Many of the elevated radon values in Lincoln County are likely due to nearby silicic volcanic rocks or sediments derived from them. Some of the higher indoor radon levels in homes in Elko County and in the towns of Lovelock, Eureka, and Yerington, among others, may also be derived from silicic volcanic rocks.

It should be noted that radon concentrations in homes do not follow neighborhood, city or county boundaries and that many communities in the state have grown beyond the 1990-1991 boundaries possibly into areas more susceptible to elevated radon concentrations.