Date Published: 01/31/2020 [Source]
That gas is Radon. It's invisible, odorless, tasteless and radioactive. The first time homeowners may become aware of it is when it affects the health of a family member. In fact, according to the EPA, over 57 people die every day from exposure to radon. It is now, next to smoking, the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Radon is caused by the natural decay of materials in the ground; materials put there by Mother Nature eons ago. But most people aren't even aware of radon's existence because scientists didn't realize the danger it posed until about 30 years ago.
Some people associate radon with older homes but it's found in new construction as well and is especially dangerous to children. That's why more and more states are making home sales contingent on an acceptable radon rating. Unfortunately, Illinois is not one of these states.
However, the Illinois state legislature did pass the Illinois Radon Awareness Act to raise awareness among home buyers that radon can adversely affect the health and well-being of their families. This law ensures that when a buyer and seller sign a sales contract for a residential property in Illinois, the seller must supply the buyer with a pamphlet from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) entitled "Radon Testing Guidelines for Real Estate Transactions." Both buyer and seller must also sign a form called "Disclosure of Information on Radon Hazards."
The only sure way to find out the radon levels in your home is to have a reading done by a radon specialist. Remember, radon is in EVERY home that touches the surface of the Earth. Furthermore, recent readings of a number of homes in the Oak Park River Forest area – new construction as well as old – have revealed dangerously high radon levels that exceed the EPA standards. That's the bad news. The good news is that radon levels can be reduced fairly easily and very effectively once a reading is done.