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Radon Facts

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radio-active chemical element. Number 86 on the periodic table of elements, radon is classified as a noble gas. It was discovered in 1898 by Polish physicist Madame Marie Curie. Madame Curie would go on to be the first woman to receive not one, but two Nobel Prizes for her discovery and practical applications of radio-active elements.

Radon organically exists in the atmosphere in trace amounts while radon gas typically emits out of soil, rocks, and bodies of water.

People are predominantly exposed to radon through indoor environments like homes, schools, and workplaces. When radon enters dwellings through cracks or holes in the foundation, it often gets trapped inside and thus causes damage to the ones breathing in the gas.

Radon disperses rapidly outdoors and is not generally a health hazard in open air environments. Radon gas is inert, colorless, and odorless. It is the heaviest gas on earth and moves slowly. Radon gas is impossible to detect with our human senses.

Is Radon Dangerous?

Radon is a radio-active element, so yes – radon can be dangerous to your health. Breathing radon gas over time has been linked to increasing your risk of lung cancer. Nationally, the EPA estimates that about 21,000 people die annually from radon-related lung cancer.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, only cigarette smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.

Certain lifestyles and factors can amplify the dangers of radon exposure, with smokers and children topping the list. Smokers are to be expected higher risk because of their depleted lung function, but not many people know that children experience higher radiation doses due to their lungs’ shape, size, and reparation rates.

Don’t let the facts scare you. Solutions exist! Champaign County Radon believes in empowering customers with facts, data, and solutions to limit your exposure and lower your risk of lung cancer.

Radon Exposure

Radon gas is like any other radio-active element: the more you’re exposed, the more serious effects may follow.

Central and Northern Illinois residents are unfortunately subject to high radon levels based on geography alone. Likely due to a combination of the earth’s geology and regional soil type(s), the EPA places Champaign County in Zone 1 – meaning Champaign County residents live in the region of Illinois most expected to have elevated radon levels.

41% of Illinois homes have tested high for radon with the average Illinois home coming in at 4.4 pCi/L.

4.4 pCi/L = radiation equivalent of 200 x-rays a year
4.4 pCi/L = lung damage equivalent of 3,212 cigarettes a year

Want to know more about your specific radon exposure? Calculate your radiation exposure here.

What Can Be Done?

Radon gas isn’t going away, but you can take immediate steps to reduce and control the amount of radon in your home. Testing is the only way to determine and pinpoint radon levels. Have your home tested today. And if your radon levels are high, contact a certified radon service professional to mitigate and fix the problem. EPA guidance suggests mitigating a dwelling if radon levels are at or above 4 pCi/L.

Radon problems are usually fixed by installing an underground ventilation system OR by increasing the rate of air changes in the building. If you live in a newly constructed home, ask about converting your passive mitigation system into an active system.

Tell your friends and family to test their homes, too. Especially if there is a history of lung cancer. The first step in protecting our health starts with awareness and understanding our options. Unfortunately, some people don’t know there’s a radon issue in their home until it’s too late.

Measurement Professional License # RNI2022203
Mitigation Professional License # RNM2022205