NELSON COUNTY, Ky. — Nelson County Public School District has only tested one school despite being in an area the EPA says has a high potential for the radioactive gas radon.

In 2018, we sent open records requests to districts in our area. We found that the Nelson County School District had tested one school in 2014. While the test results passed EPA standards radon levels can vary from room to room and even change over time.

In 2019, we checked with the district again and they were not doing anything differently.

Here is a summary of what we found:

  • one school tested
  • Bloomfield Elementary (288 Wild Cat Lane, Bardstown, Ky.)
  • 2 tests administered in 2014
  • both tests were under the EPA action level, results ranged from 1.0 - 0.9 pCi/L.



Kentucky schools are not required to test for radon but being exposed to the average level in Nelson County (4.0 pCi/L) is equivalent to smoking a half a pack of cigarettes a day, according to the EPA.

 Approximately 21,000 Americans die annually from radon-induced lung cancer, including people who have quit smoking or never smoked.

The EPA recommended action level is at 4 pCi/L, while the World Health Organization recommends action at 2.7 pCi/L. Both organizations are clear, no level of radon exposure is safe, especially long-term. 

Changes in the building and environment could cause changes in radon exposure levels, therefore the EPA recommends retesting every building at least every other year to make sure levels do not reach dangerous levels.

The only way to know if levels of radon gas are dangerous is to test and retest.


This is part of a WHAS11 investigation into radon exposure in schools. Read the full 2018 report.

Watch the follow-up 2019 report.


Contact FOCUS reporter John Charlton Follow him onTwitter (@JCharltonNews) andFacebook.

Contact FOCUS producer Andrea Ash at Follow her on Twitter (@AndreaAshNews) and Facebook.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.

Have a news tip? Email, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.