2014 National Radon Poster Contest, 3rd Place winner in New Jersey
Image by Joshua

2014 National Radon Poster Contest, by Joshua, 3rd place winner for New Jersey

Radon education poster on a TCAT bus in Tompkins County
Image by Sandy Repp

A bus poster on a TCAT bus in a Radon Education campaign in Tompkins County.

Radioactivity sign against a blue sky, for use on Radon education events

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.


Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Do you know what radon is? Where it is? How to test for it?

Testing & Mitigation

Tompkins County residents can receive a FREE radon test kit as part of the County's Healthy Neighborhoods Program. Contact Healthy Neighborhoods Program staff for more information. Alternatively, download this form to order a discounted Radon Test Kit from the NY State Department of Health (NYS residents only).

What You Need to Know About Radon

Radon is an invisible odorless gas. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon gas is found all over the world, and in every state in the U.S. Levels can vary widely, even from home to home in the same neighborhood. Radon gas becomes a health hazard when it accumulates indoors and is breathed in. The radioactive energy bursts can irritate the lung tissue and damage DNA. Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking. Radon levels can be lowered, and homes can be built to be radon-resistant.

Radon in Tompkins County

The EPA recommends radon mitigation when levels exceed 4 pCi/L. Radon is present in Tompkins County and there are multiple ways to test your home radon levels to see if you need mitigation. The graph below shows average basement radon levels in each town in Tompkins County. As you can see, most towns have average radon levels that meet EPA's criteria for action. Data is from New York State radon testing, 1987-2023.


How Radon Gets Into Your Home

Air pressure inside your home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around your home's foundation. When radon gas is present in the soil, your house acts like a vacuum and draws radon in through cracks and other openings.

Radon gets into your home through:

  1. Cracks in solid floors
  2. Construction joints
  3. Cracks in walls
  4. Gaps in suspended floors
  5. Gaps around service pipes
  6. Cavities inside walls
  7. Your water supply

View New York State's list of local/regional radon testing and mitigation contractors, or visit the National Radon Proficiency Program to find a Certified Radon Testing or Mitigation Contractor.

Last updated May 24, 2024