What is radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring colorless, odorless gas. It is formed from the breakdown of uranium, which exists in small amounts in soil and rock. Central and northern Illinois, including Knox County, have high levels of radon. As radon is released from the soil, it can easily move through small spaces to accumulate in buildings. Since radon enters a building through the ground, lower levels of buildings, especially basements, can have higher levels of radon gas.

Is radon dangerous for health?

Exposure to radon is dangerous to human health and over time can lead to lung cancer. It might take years from being exposed to radon gas to develop lung cancer and not everyone who is exposed to radon gas will develop lung cancer. However, an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the US are from exposure to radon gas. Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US, right behind smoking. Smokers who are exposed to radon have the highest risk of developing lung cancer.

How do I test for radon?

You can easily test your home for radon gas by getting a do-it-yourself test from the Knox County Health Department. Most hardware stores also have radon testing kits available. Follow the instructions that come with your testing kit to make sure you have tested your home correctly. Homes that have more than 4.0 pCi/L are considered high levels. If your test kit shows your home has more than 4.0 pCi/L of radon, you should take steps to lower your home’s radon levels.

What can I do if my home has high radon levels?

A list of licensed radon professionals and additional information can be found at on the IEMA website. Under the Radon Industry Licensing Act, all radon professionals must be licensed.
The EPA’s Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction provides detailed information about Radon Reduction techniques and methods.
If you are a renter, please refer to IEMA’s Radon Guide for Tenants.