General Radon Information

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

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It comes from the natural decay of uranium, which is found in the soil throughout Wyoming. Radon enters homes and buildings from the soil beneath through cracks and other openings in the foundation. Exposure to Radon increases your risk of developing lung cancer. 21,000+ lung cancer deaths each year are attributable to Radon, which makes it the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

When radon decays and is inhaled into the lungs, it releases energy that can damage the DNA in sensitive lung tissue and lead to lung cancer. There are no short-term radon exposure symptoms that have ever been documented. You will not have any other bodily symptoms such as joint pain, stomach or intestinal problems, headaches, or rashes from short-term radon exposure at natural environmental levels (4 pCi/liter or less).

Nearly 1 out of 15 homes in the US is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Studies have shown that 33% of the homes tested in Wyoming have elevated levels of radon. EPA's action level for mitigation is 4.0 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). Any home or building with a Radon level at or above 4.0 pCi/L should be fixed (mitigated). "Elevated Levels" refer to those tests at or above 4.0 pCi/L. However, homes/buildings, etc testing below 4.0 pCi/L MIGHT still present a health hazard to the occupants. There is no safe level of radon. The EPA's ACTION LEVEL of 4.0 pCi/L is based on the technology presently available to effectively reduce Radon. In most cases, Radon levels can be reduced below 2.0 pCi/L. The lower the Radon level, the less the risk of developing lung cancer. The average cost of a home mitigation is $500.00-$3,000. Radon-resistant construction techniques can be incorporated when constructing new homes and buildings for about half the cost of a retrofit system.

All houses can have radon; even those in areas of low radon potential can have elevated radon levels. The probability of finding radon in your home is less in low radon potential areas; however, radon levels can differ dramatically from one home to the next. The only way to know if you have radon is to test your home.

How does radon enter your house? Air pressure inside your home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around and under your home. Because the pressure is lower inside, radon is sucked into your house through cracks or holes in the slab or foundation. If you have elevated radon levels you can fix your home. If you are building a house in an area of moderate or high radon potential we recommend using radon resistant building techniques.

The radon in your water supply poses an inhalation risk and a small ingestion risk. Most of your risk from radon in water comes from radon released into the air when water is used for showering and other household purposes. Research has shown that your risk of lung cancer from breathing radon in air is much larger than your risk of stomach cancer from swallowing water with radon on it.

In 1996-97, the USGS collected 59 water samples for analysis of radon in ground water in Wyoming. Domestic wells were selected for sampling in seven counties: Albany (11 wells), Carbon (7 wells), Converse (6 wells), Goshen (12 wells), Lincoln (10 wells), Platte (6 wells), and Sublette (7 wells). Of the wells sampled, 25 were completed in unconsolidated deposits, 33 were completed in non-granitic bedrock, and 1 was completed in granitic bedrock. Unconsolidated deposits include: 1) alluvial deposits left from streams, consisting of cobbles, gravels, sands, and clays that are loosely arranged; and 2) terrace deposits, also left from streams, which occur as a step-like ledge along a stream margin and mark a former, higher water level. The depth of wells sampled ranged from 20 to 510 feet. Samples were collected using methods described by Koterba and others (1995). Samples were analyzed using liquid scintillation at the USGS National Water-Quality Laboratory in Arvada, Colorado.

The lowest median radon concentration in ground water was from wells in Platte County (520 pCi/L), whereas the highest median concentration was from wells in Converse County (1,300 pCi/L). The lowest radon concentration (150 pCi/L) in ground water was from limestone bedrock in Lincoln County. The highest radon concentration (8,200 pCi/L) in ground water was from granitic bedrock in Albany County. The USEPA has not established a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for radon in drinking water. The old, proposed MCL of 300 pCi/L for public-water supplies is currently (1998) under review. For every 10,000 pCi/L of radon in water, it is estimated about 1 pCi/L is released to the air (Prichard, 1987).