EPA Radon Map: does it serve its purpose?

The US EPA map for radon zones was published in 1993. The first home in America wasn’t tested for radon until 1984. This map was created less than a decade after radon risk in homes was found and used less than 10,000 data points to create a risk potential. The radon testing industry is entering its fourth decade. We now have over 100 million data points spread across dozens of state agencies and private laboratories. What does this all mean? Well, let the EPA tell you. 

“The map should not be used to determine if a

home in a given zone should be tested for radon.”

This map is long overdue for an update. It’s now been over three decades without an update. Every single state that has updated its own state radon potential with new data has gone to ZONE 1 High Risk for every county. Every. Single. One.

I get calls from homeowners all the time moving out a place they’ve called home for many years.  The buyers’ agent recommended a radon test and it came up high.  They’re incredulous! 

“There’s no radon near me…  I don’t know how we could’ve tested high…  The EPA says there’s nothing near us…  We’ve lived here twenty years… Are we gonna be okay?”


radon zone map from the EPA

If I had a magic wand, I’d remove this image from the Internet.  We like to tell ourselves we’re safe without evidence.  It’s easy to think up reasons not to test, but think of all the reasons you should test:

  • The potential for high radon levels are found in all 50 states and every county in America

  • Testing is cheap and effective (DIY tests for as little as $15)

  • The EPA recommends testing every home in America for this class A carcinogen at least once every five years

Radon is found everywhere.  It’s in every home, basement or not.  The question is: how much radioactive gas is my family breathing?  

Do not assume you are safe.  A cheap test kit could save the life of a loved one, a pet, or even yourself.