Reducing Radon Decreases Exposure to Lung Cancer

News Release
For Immediate Release: 1/22/2024

Allan Urlis, APR, Office of Communications, (402) 432-1532,


LINCOLN – More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year are from exposure to radon gas, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Nebraska is third in the nation with the potential for high radon levels behind Iowa and Pennsylvania. The most vulnerable area in Nebraska is the eastern third of the state due to a layer of rock closer to the surface compared to other areas of the country.

Gov. Jim Pillen wants to raise awareness of the danger of radon gas poisoning and share the action Nebraskans can take to reduce risk of exposure to radon. Pillen signed a proclamation at the State Capitol earlier this month declaring January as Radon Action Month.

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General's office say radon poisoning is the second leading cause of lung cancer, topped only by cigarette smoking. Smoking and second-hand smoke, combined with exposure to high radon levels, increase the risk of lung cancer.

Radon is a naturally occurring odorless and radioactive gas which can get trapped in homes and other buildings. Any home in any state, with or without a basement, new or old, can have high levels of radon. Radon levels are often the highest in basements and lower levels.

Testing is the only way to know if radon is present in homes and other buildings. There are two types of radon test kits, short-term kits that measure radon for 2–90 days giving quick results, or long-term kits that measure radon for more than 90 days and give an average level of radon gas year-round.

Contact the state radon office for testing or purchase a test kit in a hardware store or online. If the test results show that radon levels are above 4pCi/L, contact the state radon office at (402) 471-1005 to find a qualified or state-certified radon contractor in the area to address the problem. Lowering high radon levels requires technical knowledge and special skills so it is important to rely only on qualified professionals.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends the following steps to help lower radon levels:

  • Increase the airflow in any area by opening windows and using fans and vents to circulate air. However, natural ventilation in any type of house is only a temporary strategy to reduce radon.
  • Seal cracks in floors and walls with plaster, caulk or other mate­rials designed for this purpose.
  • Cover earth floors in crawl spaces with a high-density plastic sheet. A vent pipe and fan can be used to blow the radon from under the sheet and vent it to the outdoors.

Always test radon levels again after repairs or changes to make sure radon levels are reduced. For more information visit

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