January is National Radon Awareness Month, and the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) is working with the US Environmental Health Protection Agency (EPA) in a national campaign to promote awareness of the dangers of radon along with what people can do to protect their homes and family.

Due to the geology in the area, Winnebago County is “at risk” for high levels of radon gas and 2 out of 5 homes have high levels. Radon gas is produced through the natural process of radioactive decay from uranium deposits found in rock, soil, and water. Radon gas is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas that is normally dispersed in the air but can reach harmful levels when trapped in indoor buildings. Radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year according to the US EPA and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

From the Winnebago County Health Department's website:

“Since radon cannot be seen and has no order, people may not be aware that there is radon present in their homes and may not realize that there may be a silent killer in their homes” according to Todd Marshall, Director of Environmental Health Improvement for the Winnebago County Health Department. Radon levels are typically highest in basements which many families use for living space, exercise, or kids’ play areas. Testing your home for radon is simple, inexpensive, and can save lives.

During January, homeowners can purchase an AirChek Radon Test Kit for a reduced rate of $8.00 or can check-out a loaner Radon Gas Monitor from the Winnebago County Health Department.

For more information on both the AirChek Test Kit and Radon Gas Monitor, please contact radon specialist Sheila Jascemskas at 815-720-4125, or visit the website at www.wchd.org.