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Radon Action Month in Illinois: What Are the Levels in Your Home?

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Radon is the most significant health risk homeowners face, and this month state leaders are encouraging residents to test their homes for the dangerous gas.

According to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, nearly 1,200 citizens die annually from radon-related lung cancer. Patrick Daniels, radon program manager at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, says now is the best time of the year to check the radon levels inside a home.

"We want to test homes under what we call 'closed house conditions,'" says Daniels. "Being as cold as it is we tend to keep our windows and doors shut and homes closed up and pretty tight so it just makes it a good time to test."

Test kits range in price from $10 to $30, and can be purchased at a local hardware store or online. Daniels says it's recommended that homeowners who are involved in a real estate transaction hire a licensed professional to test the home for radon.

USDA Offers Funding to Help Rural Illinois Residents Address Radon Leaks

According to a news release from the State of Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the USDA is offering federal funding in order to help rural Illinois residents fix problems with radon in their homes.

Radon has become a major problem in rural homes in Illinois. IEMA reported that of all homes that were tested for radon in the state, nearly 40 percent were found to have high levels of the dangerous lung toxin. The USDA is offering aid to rural Illinois residents in the form of both grants and loans.

10 Short Videos by Illinois High School Students Compete for Radon Awareness Award

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Members of the public voting on line will decide the winner of the 2011 Illinois High School Radon Video Contest.

The contest -- promoting awareness of dangerous-but-naturally occurring radon gas -- is sponsored by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the American Lung Association in Illinois.

Online voting will be through midnight April 5.

Ten finalists were chosen from nearly 100 videos submitted. A panel of judges from the sponsors reviewed the entries for accuracy, creativity and effectiveness in encouraging people to test their homes for the radioactive gas.

Prizes for first, second and third places will be awarded. First prize is $2,000 to the winning school and $1,000 to the class or student creator.

Online: http://www.healthhouse.org/radon/videocontest.cfm

40 Percent of Illinois Homes Test High for Radon

Moline, Ill. — Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas that causes lung cancer. The Surgeon General lists radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. In Illinois, there are approximately 1160 deaths a year from lung cancer caused by radon.

If everyone could get the radon level in their homes down to 2 pCi/L or less, it could cut the lung cancer deaths from radon in half. With today's mitigation systems that vent radon out of the home, it is often possible to reduce the radon level below 2.

Radon gas comes from the breakdown of uranium, which is present naturally in the soil and rocks. Radon gas can enter the home through openings around pipes, the unsealed sump pit, and where floors and walls join. Radon also enters buildings through the crawl space or cracks in the basement or slab foundation.

Radon Exposure Help Sought

Harrisburg, Ill. —

State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) is sponsoring legislation that will help ensure healthier radon-free living standards for renters here in the state of Illinois.

"I feel that it is very important that those who choose to rent here in Illinois are covered by safeguards much like this, so tenants will not have to worry about their health and complications that could arise as a result of renting an apartment or house that might be contaminated with radon," said Phelps.

"This measure is not about requiring more regulations and standards to burden landlords, but more importantly, it is about the safety this measure will provide for both parties involved when they enter any lease agreement."

Promoting Women’s Health During National Radon Action Month

For the last few years, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Radon Program has focused on a “Healthy Homes for the Holiday’s” theme near National Radon Action Month (NRAM). To further this outreach, the program seized opportunities to promote radon awareness both before and during January.

The program kicked off NRAM activities this year by showcasing radon at the 2010 Illinois Women’s Health Conference, held on December 7 – 8, 2010, in Springfield, Illinois. To ensure success, the program partnered with University of Illinois Extension educator Debbie Bartman. As well as being well-versed on radon, Debbie was awarded the Extension Director's Award of Excellence for team work on environmental education on radon and indoor air quality.

'I Was Very Confident In My Ignorance:' Woman Whose Husband Died From Radon-Related Cancer Now Works To Inform Others

'I Was Very Confident In My Ignorance:' Woman Whose Husband Died From Radon-Related Cancer Now Works To Inform Others

Gloria Linnertz had no idea that a silent killer was lurking in her Waterloo home.

Her husband, Joe, went to the doctor in late 2005 because his liver enzymes were elevated. After a series of tests, an oncologist informed the couple that Joe had stage IV lung cancer with only weeks to live.

“When we asked the oncologist what could have caused Joe’s cancer, he said known causes of lung cancer are tobacco and radon gas. My husband hadn’t smoked in 27 years and led a healthy lifestyle,” Linnertz said.

But their home harbored dangerous levels of radon, which Linnertz maintains was responsible for her husband’s death.

“We had no idea that we were living with over four times the EPA radon action level in our home for 18 years. I didn’t know that until one month after Joe’s death. He died six weeks after he was diagnosed,” she said. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from radioactive decay in the soil. The gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless.

Illinois Agency, Others Meet to Talk Radon

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois officials want to raise awareness about a leading cause of lung cancer. And it's not smoking. It's radon.

Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that seeps from the ground into homes and buildings. The Environmental Protection Agency says it's the second leading cause of lung cancer. Among nonsmokers, it's the leading cause.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency held a meeting in Springfield Tuesday with health officials, contractors, teachers and others to share ideas about how to educate people about the dangers of radon.

The IEMA says radon's been detected in more than 40 percent of Illinois homes tested. It says there are nearly 1,200 radon-related lung cancer deaths in the state each year.

Radon can often be dealt with in buildings by installing special ventilation systems.

To view this article, visit http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-il-radonawareness,0,4157677.story.

Illinois Officials Encourage Radon Testing

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois officials are encouraging residents to test their homes for radon gas this week during Radon Action Week.

The Emergency Management Agency says 1,200 people die in Illinois each year from radon-related lung cancer.

IEMA interim Director Joe Klinger says studies show nearly 40 percent of Illinois homes have radon levels above safe levels.

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

Home improvement stores carry simple kits that homeowners can use to test for radon gas. Also, IEMA licenses more than 250 contractors in the state who measure radon and 90 that help get rid of it.

Online: www.radon.illinois.gov.

To view this article, visit http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-il-radontesting,0,2936635.story.

Local Students Design Winning Posters

Local Students Design Winning Posters

RADON DANGERS — It comes out of the ground, is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and all homes are susceptible to the deadly radioactive gas. These are just a few of the facts that inspired three area students to be named regional winners in a statewide poster contest designed to educate and raise awareness about the harmful effects of indoor radon gas.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It enters homes through small cracks in foundations and crawl spaces. High levels of the radioactive gas are responsible for nearly 1,200 lung-cancer deaths in the state of Illinois each year.

“Radon is one of the things you never know you have until you test your home,” said Patti Thompson, communications manager of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.