Radon is a radioactive element that is part of the decay chain of naturally occurring uranium in soil. You can't see, smell or taste radon. Unlike carbon monoxide and many other home pollutants, radon's adverse health effect, lung cancer, is usually not produced immediately. Thus, you may be exposed to radon for many years without ever suspecting its presence in your home.
While scientists can estimate the approximate lung cancer deaths per 1,000 people, no single individual's risk can be estimated. Testing is relatively inexpensive, easy and is the only way to know whether you are at risk. Radon testing takes approximately 48 hours, as long as closed building conditions are maintained.
Radon reduction techniques are used to stop radon entry and reduce indoor radon concentrations. The cost of an active mitigation system is typically between $800 to $1,200 for installation, and the energy cost of running the fan will average around $100 per year.
For individuals and companies building new homes, IEMA recommends installation of Passive Radon Reduction Systems during construction; homeowner testing after taking residence; and mitigation, as indicated by the test results. The International Code Council outlined radon control methods in their One and Two Family Dwelling Code since 1995. Some Illinois towns concerned about residential radon concentrations have adopted the International Code, making passive radon resistant new construction mandatory for new single-family dwellings in their areas.