About Radon

Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium in rocks, soil, and in some cases groundwater. Exposure can occur through breathing outdoor air, in buildings and homes, and by eating or drinking (ingestion). Radon can get into buildings by cracks in solid floors and walls, construction joints, gaps in suspended floors, gaps around service pipes, cavities inside walls or the water supply.1

Facts and Figures

  • 1 in 15 homes is estimated to have unsafe levels of radon.2
  • The average national indoor radon level is 1.3 pCi/L.3
  • The average indoor radon levels of Wayne County is 2.5 pCi/L.3
  • 17 percent of Wayne County homes have dangerous levels of radon at levels of 4 pCi/L or more.3


Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates.  Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.  Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.  About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.4

Gain Control: Actions You Can Take

To help prevent health and safety risks due to radon, see below for suggested actions you can take4:

  • Prevent the radon from entering the home.
  • Reduce the level of radon after it has entered
  • Test your home for radon — it’s easy and inexpensive.
  • Fix your home if your radon level is 4 picocuries per liter, or pCi/L, or higher.
  • Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that all homes be tested for radon. Radon detectors can be purchased or arrangements can be made for qualified testers to come into the home. Some states offer free or low-cost radon test kits.

Local Resources for Detroit Residents

For contact information of partner organizations that might be able to provide help with radon hazards in your home, visit our Get Help page.


1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Radon in the Home (http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/radiation/brochure/profile_radon.htm)
2United States Environmental Protection Agency: A Citizen’s Guide to Radon, 2012 (http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html)
3Wayne County: Wayne County Radon Information (http://county-radon.info/MI/Wayne.html)
4United States Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/radon/