radon 2 010721PARK FOREST – January is Radon Action Month, and State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is emphasizing the importance of early detection of radon and urging people to test their homes for this harmful gas.

“Higher levels of radon in the home can lead to life-threatening health issues, such as lung cancer,” Joyce said. “With more people staying at home, it’s important to test your home, whether it’s old or new, for radon to prevent unnecessary deaths.” 

Radon gas is one of the leading causes of lung cancer in the nation, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. Statistics show radon has been found in nearly 40% of homes tested in Illinois. Areas in the central and northern regions, like Kankakee and Grundy Counties, are shown to have higher levels of radon in the soil.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. This odorless, colorless, tasteless gas comes from the natural breakdown of the soil, and it enters buildings through small cracks in the foundation, sump pits, crawl spaces, floor drains and more. If not properly mitigated, radon gas can reach drastically high levels and cause major health concerns.   

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois are hosting two statewide contests that urge students to use their creative talents to promote radon awareness. High school students are invited to submit a 30-second commercial style video, and middle school students can design a poster to urge residents to test their homes for radon. For more information and to enter, click here.

“We are asking our youth to get involved and use their creativity to raise awareness,” Joyce said. “I encourage students to participate in the contests and submit an entry.”

For more information about radon, visit www.radon.illinois.gov. Information is also available through IEMA’s Radon Hotline at 800-325-1245.