Once the holidays are behind us, many people tend to think of “getting their W-2s in order for taxes” as the “next big thing.”
But as any Environmental Health professional will tell you, January is Radon Action Month. 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.
Environmental Health Assistant Cynthia Griggs poses with one of the radon test kits available for purchase from the Will County Health Department for $8.00.
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. For more information on radon levels in Will County and mitigation options, visit: https://www2.illinois.gov/iema/NRS/Radon/Pages/RadonIllinois.aspx.
The radon level in your home can be determined through the use of a radon test kit. The Will County Health Department offers test kits for $8.00 and they are available at all three health department branch offices. The kit comes with simple instructions and lab results are sent directly to you. January is Radon Action Month and an ideal time to test your home.
The Will County Health Department at 501 Ella Avenue in Joliet is currently undergoing preparations for the construction of a new building. To purchase a radon test kit, 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 AM to 4 PM.