Radon in the Kankakee County Area

Information provided by the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety (IDNS).

Is there radon in the Kankakee County Area? YES!

Studies by the IDNS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and others show that radon occurs in every county in Illinois.

IDNS found in its study that 26 percent of the homes that were tested in Kankakee County had indoor radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) or greater.

Studies show that high radon levels occur often in Northern Illinois, but no matter where you live, there is still reason for concern.

The USEPA has set 4 pCi/L as the Action Level, the level at which residents should take steps to reduce radon levels.

IDNS screening results for Kankakee County are shown in the table below.

Kankakee County
  # Tested Min Result Avg Result Max Result # > 4 pCi/L % > 4 pCi/L # > 20 pCi/L % > 20 pCi/L
Other Rooms: Level Unknown 2 0.6 0.8 0.9 0 0 0 0
Basement/ Subsurface Level 26 0.3 3.1 16.8 8 31 0 0
1st Floor Bedroom 7 0.6 1.9 5.7 1 14 0 0
Total 35 0.3 2.7 16.8 9 26 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 IDNS for a list of licensed laboratories that sell detectors.

See the brochure “Guidelines for Home Environment Radon Measurements” for more information.

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 Radiation (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 radon measurement or the installation or operation of a radon mitagation system. This section applies to everyone, not just individuals required to be licensed. Expensive penalties may be assessed against those who violate this Act.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. Testing is the only way to determine the radon level and risk in your own home. Follow these easy steps to radon testing.

The First Step

Conduct an initial short term radon test.

Initial Test Results and Follow-Up Tests

If your initial short-term test result is:

Below 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L)
No action is necessary. You may want to re-test at some time in the future.
Between 4 and 9.9 pCi/L
Follow up with a long-term test.
10 pCi/L or greater
Follow up with another short-term test.

Test Results: Do You Take Action?

If your short-term test result is between 4 and 9.9 pCi/L
If your long-term test result less than 4 pCi/L
No follow up test is needed.
If your long-term test result is 4 pCi/L or greater
The IDNS recommends fixing your home.
If your short-term test result is 10 pCi/L or greater
If the second result is in agreement with the first, the IDNS recommends fixing your home.

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 indoor and outdoors. When air is exhausted by 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 professional licensed by the IDNS to reduce the radon levels in your home. Radon mitigation system installations usually cost between $800 and $2,500, depending on the characteristics of the house and the choice of radon reduction methods. Residents may install a mitigation system in their own home; however, without proper equipment or technical knowledge, you could increase the radon levels 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.

Look for the mitigation system – it’s a sign of a healthier house!

Mitigation systems reduce radon by collecting radon and other soil gases prior to entry into the house and discharging them to a safe location above the highest cave.

Illinois mitigation systems must include:

  • Effective radon reduction
  • Unobtrusive and permanent installation
  • Quiet operation
  • Energy efficient operation and maintenance
  • A system function indicator
  • A primary suction point independent of the sump pit
  • Sump covers with observation ports
  • Exhaust above the highest cave and as close to the roof ridge line as possible

For More Information contact

Kankakee County Health Department
Environmental Health Division
2390 W Station St
Kankakee, Illinois 60901
Office: (815) 802-9410
Fax: (815) 802-9411

or the

Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety
Radon Information Line
Phone: (800) 325-1245
TDD: (217) 782-6133
www.state.il.us/idns

Permission to reproduce this brochure is granted provided that each reproduction contain the following acknowledgement. “This brochure was produced and published by the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety“