Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. Radon exposure, detrimental to human health, is the second leading cause of lung cancer. There is a synergistic effect between radon exposure and smoking—people exposed to both radon and tobacco smoke are 10 times more likely to develop lung cancer. Kentucky leads the nation in the incidence of new lung cancer cases and lung cancer mortality.
Radon is derived from the decomposition of uranium in the soil and rock and is found in every region in the U.S. Different geologic rock units have varying concentrations of uranium, producing fluctuating amounts of radon. Residential radon concentrations vary widely by geographic area. Common uranium-bearing, high radon potential rock types in Kentucky include black shale and phosphatic limestones.
KGS and UK College of Nursing BREATHE program scientists combined more than 70,000 home radon test kit results with Kentucky’s digital geologic map coverage to produce the most detailed statewide indoor radon potential map in the country.
Creating Geologically Based Radon Potential Maps for Kentucky
Using Geology to Communicate Radon Potential to the Public
Other Radon Resources
- We are excited to introduce our first radon comic book, “Invisible Enemy: The Rise of Radon”: Co-created by BREATHE and the Kentucky Geological Survey, our story introduces readers to the combined risks of radon and tobacco smoke through the experiences of a family who has a daughter with asthma. The comic book is in a convenient .pdf format that you can distribute through listservs, newsletters, and social media. Let us know what you think of our new comic book.
- "A Geologically Based Indoor-Radon Potential Map of Kentucky," published in Geohealth: This publication describes the methods used by researchers to develop a geologically based interactive indoor-radon potential map of Kentucky. The map integrates our unparalleled statewide 1:24,000 digital geologic map coverage with nearly 72,000 radon home test kit results to quantify indoor radon potential based on bedrock geologic map units in Kentucky. This publication is open access, so it is freely available to everyone.
- County Specific Radon Maps and Interactive State Map: Certain types of rock emit higher levels of radon. Created in partnership with the Kentucky Geological Survey, these convenient easy-to-read infographic handouts are tailored to each county and convey radon potential based on geology and actual radon values, as well as the prevalence of radon testing by county.
- Radon and Tobacco Smoke Synergistic Risk Flyer: A two page infographic that easily and effectively conveys the danger of radon and tobacco smoke separately as well in combination. The infographic also has information on how to request a free radon test kit.
- United Voices – Kentucky, a video written and produced by Breath of Hope KY President, Lindi Campbell: Kentucky Lung Cancer survivors speak out to raise awareness that anyone can get lung cancer in an effort to help erase the stigma. Their lives tell a different story than how you may view lung cancer.
- The Kentucky Radon Program provides radon test kits free of charge to Kentucky residents. You can request a free test kit by completing the form on the Free Radon Test Kit Offer website.
- If your health department is on the radon program list, you may request a free test kit from your health department.