More focus on radon safety after new study points out cancer risk

By Jim McCabe on June 4 at 11:17am

A new study should cause concern for some Morgan County residents who may be living in a home with elevated levels of radon.

A new study released last month by the American Cancer Society indicates exposure to high levels of radon could lead to increased risk of bone marrow cancer and lymph node cancer, among other types of common blood cancers.

Radon is a naturally-occurring colorless, odorless gas that has been previously linked to a high risk of lung cancer.

In Morgan County, data from the Illinois Environmental Protection agency indicates nearly two-thirds of a total of 273 tested buildings have high radon levels, in data collected from 2003 to 2011.

Jake English is a radon measurement professional based in Jacksonville. He says the number one factor for getting a high level of radon in your house is the amount of decaying uranium underneath.

“This area of Illinois and Iowa are two of the highest-average radon concentration areas inside the United States. That has nothing to do with construction methods, it’s just where we are at in the country. The age of the house, the efficiency of the house, those all play factors,” he says.

English says contractors are starting to use radon-protective construction methods for new home construction.

“What they’re doing is, they’re kinda going ahead and sealing off some of those cracks,” English says. “Maybe they’re covering up the sump pump with a more suitable cover. Maybe it’s a little bit tighter, they’ll put foam around the edge of them. I’ve seen some even get their houses tested before they put them up for sale, they just kind of get it tested, and if they need a system to be installed to get the radon out, they can do that, too,” he adds.

You can hear more from English by clicking below.