SPRINGFIELD – Nearly 1,200 radon-related lung cancer deaths occur each year in Illinois, yet many people have never tested their homes to find out if dangerous levels of this radioactive gas are present. During Radon Action Week Oct. 17-23, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging people throughout Illinois to test their homes.
“Our studies have shown that nearly 40 percent of Illinois homes tested had radon levels above the action level,” said IEMA Interim Director Joe Klinger. “But there’s no way to know if your home has high radon levels unless you test.”
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that comes from the radioactive decay of naturally occurring uranium in the soil. It can enter homes and buildings through small cracks in the foundation, sump pumps or soil in crawlspaces.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has established 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) as the action level for radon in homes. It is estimated that the risk of developing lung cancer at that level is about seven lung cancer deaths per 1,000 persons. The USEPA and IEMA recommend taking steps to reduce radon levels in your home if test results indicate levels of 4.0 pCi/L or above.
Determining whether or not your home has high levels of radon is easy. Homeowners can either test the home themselves using simple kits available at most home improvement stores or they can hire a licensed radon measurement contractor. IEMA licenses more than 250 measurement and nearly 90 mitigation contractors statewide.
For more information about radon, radon testing results from your county or to find an IEMA-licensed radon measurement or mitigation contractor in your area, visit www.radon.illinois.gov.