Radon – A dangerous hazard in Illinois

Radon is a radioactive gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second-leading cause of lung cancer overall.  Ranging as far west as Washington and as far east as Maine, a huge chunk of the northern part of the country has soil rich in uranium, which produces radon, a colorless, odorless gas and we are right in the middle of it.  When radon decays, it produces a radioactive element that sticks to surfaces. If a particle is inhaled, it can stick to the airways of the lung and increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

While the Environmental Protection Agency estimates one in every 15 homes in the U.S. have unsafe radon levels, rates in Illinois are much higher. More than 40 percent of the homes tested in Illinois between 2003 and 2011 were above the EPA’s action level, 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The risk of developing lung cancer at that level is estimated at about seven lung cancer deaths per 1,000 people.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALAIL) recently announced the statewide launch of an initiative to encourage home builders to install activated radon mitigation systems in new homes.  This program encourages builders to provide even more protection for their home buyers by activating those systems. It’s an easy, yet very important step they can take to help families avoid the serious health risk associated with radon.

Tests and monitors can be purchased at home stores for between $9 to $250.  If the number comes up over 4.0 you’ll want to call a licensed professional to get a more definitive conclusion.  Ridding a home of radon can usually run you between $700 and $2,000, but it’s worth it for the health of you and your family.  Some homeowners can seal and caulk their basements and put a sealed cover over sump pumps, but sometimes in an effort to do it themselves, homeowners will make the situation worse.  The only way to guarantee a house is radon free is by hiring a licensed professional.

If you are looking for more information, or need a recommendation on reaching a professional, call Helen today at 847.967.0022 or email [email protected].