People who are exposed to radon are at a higher risk of developing cancer. A naturally occurring, odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas, radon is responsible for approximately 21,000 deaths every year. Landlords and home sellers are required under the Illinois Radon Awareness Act to disclose to tenants and homebuyers when their properties are affected by radon. When property owners fail in their duty to test for, fix, or warn of a radon presence, they could be sued for any personal injuries or deaths that may result.
What is Radon?
Radon is a natural radioactive gas that is released by the Earth. It is a dangerous health hazard that is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. The main issue with radon gas is that is unlike cigarette smoke, people do not realize they are breathing it in because they cannot taste, smell, or see it. And unlike carbon monoxide, another dangerous gas undetectable by human senses, it is a slow killer. Radon can seep into homes through cracks in walls, holes or cracks in building foundations. It can also flow undetected in water supplies.
Radon has been classified as a carcinogen. It could take years before signs of cancer appear. When they do emerge, it is sometimes too late to treat cancer effectively to save the person’s life. The EPA estimates that radon exposure is responsible for 12 percent of lung cancers diagnosed each year in the United States.
Illinois Radon Awareness Act
To address the dangers of exposure, the Illinois Radon Awareness Act requires property owners to disclose to tenants and homebuyers if they are aware of elevated levels of radon in their properties. When radon hazards exist and are not mitigated, the dwelling could be considered uninhabitable. Illinois requires that all multifamily and commercial properties be 100 percent ground floor tested for radon.
It is always a good idea for people to take proactive steps to protect the health of themselves and their families by conducting a test for radon gas. Kits to test for the gas can be purchased at many home improvement and discount department stores.