Radon Doctor
Radon Mitigation and Testing
"We Save Lives Daily"
  Serving: Carroll, Frederick and Washington Counties in Maryland;
Jefferson and Berkley Counties in West Virginia

Lung Cancer and Radon Gas

Jefferson and Berkeley counties have a significantly higher number of deaths due to lng cancer than the US average, exceeding the national rate by about 20%. These counties are ranked 5th in WV in the percentage of people who smoke. Additionally, Jefferson and Berkeley counties have the highest levels of indoor radon in West Virginia. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. This clearly indicates the public health need for addressing radon and smoking in both counties in order to reduce the incidence of lung cancer.

The Jefferson County Board of Health believes that the best way to address the smoking issue is through a positive, educational approach particularly aimed towards young people. Action focused on our youth to prevent them from starting to smoke is universally accepted as the most significant contribution public health can make in reducing lung cancer. West Virginia ranks No. 1 in teen smoking. The other cause of lung cancer, radon, is also something that can be addressed effectively through public education. Smoking and exposure to radon gas have a synergistic effect, increasing your risk for lung cancer.

Since 1972, lung cancer rates in men have risen by 15%. Lung cancer rates in women have risen an astounding 147%. It is the leading cause of cancer death in women.

More About Radon

Radon-222 is a naturally occurring colorless, odorless, radioactive gas produced by the breakdown or decay of Uranium-238 in soil and rock. Radon decays into solid elements called radon progeny including several that emit alpha particles. When inhaled radon progeny reach the lungs, the alpha particles they emit can damage cells within the airways and thereby increase lung cancer risk.

Air pressure inside your home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around your home's foundation. Because of this difference in pressure, your house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon through foundation cracks and other openings. Once inside the house, it is trapped there particularly in the winter when homes are sealed for energy efficiency. Therefore radon tests should be performed in the winter months if practical to do so. Mobile homes which are not on permanent foundations do not need to be tested for radon.

If you have a home in Jefferson or Berkeley County and would like it tested for radon, then e-mail us at RadonDoctor@Comcast.net. Please provide your name and mailing address, and phone number where you can be reached during the day, or you may request a radon test by calling 1-877-381-6925 between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Someone will need to be available between 9:00AM and 4:00PM to allow entry, unless the home is on a lock box (manual or electronic). An electronic radon monitor will be left at the lowest livable level of your home for 2-3 days. Results will generally be available within 24 hours after the monitor is picked up

The action level for radon is 4.0 pCi/L. Data from the WV Bureau of Public Health, Office of Environmental Health Services indicates the following percentages of homes in selected counties which have radon levels equal to or exceeding 4.0 pCi/L.  There have been homes tested in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia where the radon levels have been 40-50 times above the action level of 4.0 pCi/L that the EPA has established.


Berkeley 63.7%                                 Hampshire 46.0%                               Hardy 30.0%

Grant 24.2%                                        Jefferson 68.1%                                Mineral 52.2%

Morgan 61.4%                                    Pendleton 42.9%

Some homes in other states have radon levels that have tested in the mid- to high 100s, and even into the 1,000s.  The record high level for the country is over 3,000 pCi/L, found in the state of Pennsylvania.


Radon Risk Evaluation Chart



Radon Risk Evaluation Chart








Estimated number of lung cancer deaths due to radon exposure (out of 1000)

Compararable exposure levels

Comparable risk









1000 times outdoor level

More than 60 times nonsmoker risk 4 pack-a-day smoker




100 times average indoor level

20,000 chest x-ray per yr





2 pack-a-day smoker




100 times average outdoor level

1 pack-a-day smoker




10 times average indoor level

5 times nonsmoker risk





200 chest x-rays per year




10 times average outdoor level

Nonsmoker risk of dying from lung cancer




Average indoor level

20 chest x-rays per yr




Average outdoor level




Updated February 17, 2013