The Macoupin County Public Health Department is aligned with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) in a major campaign to educate Americans about the dangers of radon exposure and to encourage them to take action to identify and fix radon problems in their homes.
Radon is a health hazard that is present in elevated levels in about 33% of Macoupin County homes, which compares with over 6% of homes across all of America. Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless gas that is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air, but when trapped in buildings, can be harmful at elevated levels. The science on radon has been formidable over the years, but never before have we had such overwhelming scientific consensus and robust data to support that exposure to elevated levels of radon causes lung cancer in humans.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reports that radon causes between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year. However, because you can’t see or smell radon, people tend to minimize the health effects and ignore the possibility that it might exist in elevated levels in their homes.
Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is a simple process and is free to Macoupin County homeowners. And, if discovered, radon problems can be fixed. Radon test kits that meet EPA guidelines are also available at local hardware stores, home improvement stores, some supermarkets, other retail outlets, or directly from a laboratory. Many are priced under $25.00. However, Whitler cautions “If you’re going to purchase a kit and do the test yourself, make sure that the directions are followed carefully”.
Radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost similar to that for may common home repairs such as painting or having a new water heater installed (anywhere from $500 to about $2,500). Macoupin County Public Health Department urges area residents to test their homes for elevated levels of radon. It is a serious public health hazard with a straightforward solution.
For more information on radon, FREE radon testing, and radon mitigation, call Macoupin County Public Health Department at 217-839-4101.