Once the holidays are done, many people think “getting their W-2s in order for taxes” as the “next big thing.”
But as any environmental health professional will tell you, testing your home for radon is definitely something to place at the top of your “post-holidays list.”
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. Undetermined levels of exposure over time can be a health hazard. EPA statistics indicate that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking, and the number one cause among non-smokers.
According to the American Lung Association, radon exposure contributes to 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States, an estimated 2,900 of those annual deaths is among people who have never smoked.
Radon gas is a naturally occurring gas resulting from the decay of uranium in the earth’s crust. Radon gas follows a pathway of least resistance and can enter a home through foundation cracks and unsealed sump pits.
Statistics from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency indicate that elevated radon levels have been detected in homes in Will County.
For example, of 465 homes tested in Joliet over a recent ten-year period, 54 percent were found to have radon levels at greater than 4pCI/L (picocuries/liter), which the EPA has deemed as the action level.
Homes that have radon at this level should be mitigated to remove the radon gas and reduce the risk for lung cancer. Radon levels can be determined through the use of a radon test kit.
The Will County Health Department offers test kits for $8. The kit comes with simple instructions and lab results are sent directly to you.
Because the Will County Health Department at 501 Ella Ave. in Joliet is currently undergoing preparations for the construction of a new building, enter through the WIC parking entrance off of Neal Street, and then turn right into the fenced-off section marked visitor parking.” Environmental health is located on the second floor.
Radon test kits are also available at the Bolingbrook (323 Quadrangle Drive) and Monee (5601 W. Monee-Manhattan Road) branch offices. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, call 815-727 8480 or visitwillcountyhealth.org.