Is there a silent killer in your home? Why you need to test for radon


When Joseph Linnertz of Waterloo was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2005, his wife asked the oncologist what could have caused it. The oncologist stated that it was smoking or radon gas. Joseph was a nonsmoker who lived a healthy lifestyle.

After his diagnosis, he and his wife tested their home for radon. The results were more than 4 times the EPA recommended action level.

When Gloria Linnertz took the story about her late husband to state legislators, they passed legislation designed to raise awareness about the hazards of radon.

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that one in every 15 homes nationwide has a high or above the recommended level of radon in the air, statistics indicate that radon levels in some Southern Illinois homes are also growing at a rapid pace.

A recent news article reported that Jefferson County, for example, rose from 14.7 percent of the homes tested at the end of April to 23.4 percent at the end of December. Marion County rose from 15.3 percent to 26.8 percent for the same period. Jackson County remained consistent at slightly above 26 percent.

Home test kits are free and available through the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. Test kits are also available through the National Safety Council (800-557-2366), certain State programs and local hardware and home improvement stores.

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