Tazewell County Health Dept.

Environmental Radon/Indoor Air

Radon/Indoor Air

 

Click here for Tazewell County Radon brochure (pdf)

 

Harmful effects of high levels of indoor radon gas are a problem. The solution is to reduce the number of homes with high levels of radon. 
 

Link to EPA website regarding National Radon Month
Link to IEMA website regarding Radon in Illinois.

The aim of National Radon Action Month is to increase the public's awareness of radon, promote radon testing and mitigation, and advance the use of radon-resistant new construction practices.

The price of short term radon test kits is $5.00 .
Tazewell County Health Department is located at 21306 IL Route 9 in Tremont, just west of the town of Tremont on Route 9.



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Is there Radon in the Tazewell County Area?
Yes, studies by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and others show that Radon occurs in every county in Illinois. INDS found in its study that 63% of the homes that were tested in Tazewell County had indoor Radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) or greater. Studies that show high Radon levels occur often in central Illinois, no matter where you live, there is still reason for concern. The U.S. EPA has set 4 pCi/L as the Action Level, the level at which residents should take steps to reduce Radon levels. Screening results for Tazewell County are shown in the table below

Tazewell County
Number Minimum Results Average Result Maximum Result Number
>4 pCi/L
Percent
>4 pCi/L
Number >20 pCi/L Percent >20 pi/L
Basement/Subsurface Level 48 0.9 5.9 14.3 33 69 0 0
1st Floor Living Area 5 0.9 3.1 8.8 1 20 0 0
1st Floor Bedroom 6 1.5 4.6 11.3 3 50 0 0
Total 59 0.9 5.5 14.3 37 63 0 0

 

 




Can I test for Radon myself?

Yes, radon testing is easy and inexpensive. Radon detectors are available at hardware stores or by calling IEMA for a list of licensed laboratories that sell detectors.

Does Radon really cause lung cancer?
Yes, Radon is a class A human carcinogen, which means there is actual evidence that exposure to radon causes lung cancer in humans. The National Academy of Science's Sixth Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Gradation (BEIR VI) study reaffirmed USEPA's risk estimate for radon exposure. In addition to USEPA, Radon's risk is recognized by the: American Medical Association, US Center for Disease Control, American Lung Association, World Health Organization and many others.

Do people in Illinois take Radon seriously?
Yes, in 1997, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Radon Industry Licensing Act. This new law prohibits interfering with or causing another person to interfere with the successful completion of a Radon measurement or the installation or operation of a Radon mitigation system. This section applies to everyone, not just individuals that required to be licensed. Expensive penalties may be assessed aginst those who violate this act.

My house doesn't have a basement, could I still have high Radon levels?
Yes, Any home can have elevated Radon levels. It doesn't matter whether your house is old or new or whether it has a basement, crawlspace, or slab-on-grade foundation. Most Radon enters a home because of air pressure and temperature differentials between the indoors and outdoors. When air is exhausted by a natural or powered ventilation, make-up air is drawn in through openings in the foundation from the surrounding soil.

If my house has a high Radon level, is there anything I can do about it?
Yes, indoor Radon levels can be lowered by installing a Radon mitigation system that collects Radon prior to its entry into the house and discharges it to a safe location. Contact a mitigation licensed by IEMA to reduce the Radon levels in your home. Radon mitigation system installation costs vary, depending on the characteristics of the house and choice of Radon reduction methods. Residents own home; however, without proper equipment or technical knowledge, you could increase the Radon level or create other potential hazards. (Radon detectors come in a variety of shapes. Charcoal detectors are short-term tests. Alpha track detectors are long term tests.)


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INDOOR AIR QUALITY

Over the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air. Thus, for some people the health risks may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors. In addition people maybe exposed to indoor air pollutants for longer periods of time. These pollutants also are readily accessible to susceptible groups of people such as the young, elderly, and chronically ill.

What causes indoor air problems?
Indoor pollution sources that release particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems. Inadequate ventilation and increase pollutants are another cause. High temperature and humidity can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.

How does indoor air affect your health?
Certain immediate effects are similar to those from cold or flu. It is often difficult to determine if the symptoms are a result of exposure to an indoor are pollutant. Effects may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures. These include irritation to he eyes, nose, throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. These effects are usually short term and treatable. There are several diseases, which have been linked to indoor air pollution. Including asthma, hypersensitivity, pneumonitis, humidifier fever, and lung cancer.

Does your home have an indoor air quality (IAQ) problem?
Identify sources of potential indoor pollutant sources. Although just the presence of some sources does not indicative of an indoor air quality problem. Knowing the sources, type, and number is an important first step in assessing your IAQ problem.

Which of the following are pollutant sources?
Oil, Gas, Kerosene, Coal, Wood, Tobacco, Building Materials, Furniture, Carpeting, Pets, Insulation, Asbestos, Household Cleaning Products, Toiletries, Humidifiers, Radon, Pesticides, Perfume, Paint All of these items are potential sources.

What can I do to improve the air in my home?
There are a few basic steps to improving indoor air quality. The most effective first step is to eliminate the source. This maybe accomplished by removing, sealing, or enclosing individual sources. Source control is the most cost effective approach to protecting indoor air quality. Second increasing ventilation, which may lower the concentrations of pollutant in a home, by increasing the amount of outdoor air coming indoors. Most home heating and cooling systems do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Opening windows, operating window fans, attic fans, or running window air conditioners with vents open increases outdoor air ventilation. Running kitchen and bathroom fans that exhaust outdoors can remove some localized pollutants. Third air cleaners are another option. There are many sizes and different types of air cleaners. Some cleaners are highly effective at particle removal while others are much less effective. These air cleaners draw air through a filtering element and push out filtered air. Because of this the maintenance of the unit affects the effectiveness of the unit.