The Henry and Stark County Health Departments note that January has been proclaimed National Radon Action Month in Illinois, by calling attention to the fact that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer overall and the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments note that January has been proclaimed National Radon Action Month in Illinois, by calling attention to the fact that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer overall and the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.

“It really doesn’t matter where you live in Illinois or what type of home you live in, because we’ve seen excessive radon in every county in Illinois, and in every type of home – old, new, with basements, with a crawlspace or on a slab,” notes Dorothy David, Health Department Director of Environmental Health Services.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that comes from the radioactive decay of naturally occurring uranium in the soil. It can enter homes and buildings through small cracks in the foundation, sump pumps or soil in crawlspaces.

“Radon gas has been found in 65 percent of homes in Henry County and 82 percent of homes in Stark County,” David said.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon causes 21,000 deaths annually. That’s because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer.

The State of Illinois has enacted the Illinois Radon Awareness Act. According to this law, anyone buying a home, condominium or other residential property in Illinois must be provided with information about indoor radon exposure and the fact that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause overall.

Since radon gas is undetectable, specialized radon detectors must be used to measure the amount of radon gas present in the air.

The Environmental Health Division of the Henry and Stark County Health Department announces that they now have Radon Home Test kits available for purchase through their offices in Kewanee and Colona. The cost is $15 per kit.

Testing your home is the only way to know if you have elevated levels of radon. If radon levels, above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) action level of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L), are detected in your home, the health department can provide you with information regarding radon mitigation at www.henrystarkhealth.com or through its Environmental Health Division.

For more information on radon gas or the radon home testing kits, call 852-0197.