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U.S. Geological Survey

High Levels of Radon Found in Some Wells Across Pennsylvania

A new U.S. Geological Survey study has discovered high levels of radon in wells across certain areas of Pennsylvania.

The study, which was conducted in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Environmental Protection, examined 1,041 well samples and found that 14 percent had radon levels at or above the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed alternative maximum contaminant level of 4,000 picocuries per liter. While the EPA does not currently regulate radon in drinking water, it has proposed this alternative limit for public water supplies in states like Pennsylvania, which has an EPA-approved radon indoor air quality program. For states without an approved program, the EPA has proposed a lower, more protective, maximum contaminant level of 300 picocuries per liter.

The silent killer: How to protect your home against radon gas

Unbeknownst to millions of families, the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers could be lurking inside their homes.

Exposure to radon, a naturally-occurring radioactive gas, claims an estimated 24,000 lives annually, according to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Many victims have never smoked a cigarette, according to the American Lung Association.

Radon, a Class-A carcinogen, is the second-leading lung cancer threat overall, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The odorless, tasteless and colorless gas can be found anywhere and can go undetected inside homes for years.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that one in 15 homes will test at or above the EPA’s action level of four picocuries per liter (pCi/L).

A picocurie is a measure of the rate of radon’s radioactive decay.