RADON AND YOU

March 24, 2015

In 2008 when we began offering Radon Measurements in Kankakee County we often heard the statement  "We don't have a Radon problem in our area". After 7 years of collecting data, the facts tell a different story.

 

In our service area, we are currently observing approximately 40% of all Radon measurements are equal to or exceed the 4 pCi/L level. The EPA and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency consider levels at 4 pCi/l or above to be a health hazard.

 

How dangerous is Radon?

  • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking

  • 21,000 Americans die from radon induced lung cancer annually

  • As many as 900 radon related deaths occur annually in Illinois

The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technology estimate 10 million homes and 38 million Americans are at risk for dangerous radon exposure. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water.  You cannot see, smell, or taste it.  Any home can have radon problems. This means new and old homes, well sealed and drafty homes, and homes with and without a basement.

 

Because of pressure differences in your house and soil around your foundation, your house acts as a vacuum pulling radon gas through cracks and other openings in your foundation.  You cannot predict radon levels based on state, local, or neighborhood radon measurements.  Homes that are next door to each other can have very different levels of radon present.

 

The amount of radon in the air is measured in “picocuries” of radon per liter of air, or “pCi/L”.  Congress has set a long-term goal that indoor radon levels be no more than outdoor levels.  

 

Approximately 0.4 pCi/L of radon is normally found in the outside air. It is advised to test every two years, even if the level is within acceptable range.  Levels can change from one period to the next.

The IEMA and EPA recommend that you know the radon level in any house you are considering buying.

 

Types of Radon Devices

 

Passive devices do not need power to function.  Passive devices are available in hardware, drug, and other stores.  These devices are exposed to air in the home for a specified time and then sent to an approved laboratory for analysis.

 

Active devices require power and are installed by licensed professionals.  They continuously measure and record the amount of radon decay products in the air.  Although these tests may cost more, they ensure more reliable results.

 

In many cases, home owners, buyers, and sellers may decide to have radon testing done by a state licensed radon measurement professional, who knows the proper conditions, test devices, and guidelines for obtaining reliable radon test results.  More information is available at www.iema.illinois.gov/radon/radon.htm

 

How do I Reduce Radon Exposure in my Home

 

The IEMA encourages anyone who discovers their home has elevated levels of radon to contact a licensed radon mitigation professional to correct the problem.  Ways to reduce radon in your home are discussed in the EPA’s Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction.  You can get a copy from your state radon office, or view it online at www.epa.gov/radon/consumers-guide-radon-reduction-how-fix-your-home

 

If you have more questions regarding radon feel free to contact us at 815-401-0526.

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