MYTH: The realtor says radon does not exist in my area.
FACT: Some areas of the Chicagoland area have been shown to have lower radon levels on average than others, however, serious problems have been found throughout Illinois. The only way to know if radon is present is to test.
MYTH: The home I am buying doesn’t have a basement, so that means it can’t have radon.
FACT: All buildings have negative pressure in the lowest level, regardless of the layout. The style of your home has absolutely zero impact on whether radon is present.
MYTH: The home I am purchasing already has a mitigation system installed so I don’t need to test.
FACT: The only way to know the level of radon in the home is to test. The EPA/IEMA recommend testing every two to three years. Always re-test; it’s inexpensive and fast.
MYTH: The home I am buying was closed-up/vacant for a long time, so the reading is abnormally high.
FACT: First, radon is radioactive which means that it is breaking down continuously. Second, radon is natural, but houses aren’t; they are man-made and trap the radon gas in the home, then draw it in from
the surrounding soil.
MYTH: My home is new construction, so I can’t have a radon problem.
FACT: The age of your home has zero impact on whether radon is present. It doesn’t matter how old your home is, if there is enough radium in the soil and there is a way for it to get in, then you could have a serious problem. In 2013, Illinois passed the Radon Resistant Construction Act (420 ILCS 52/20) Sec. Adoption of passive radon resistant construction. All new residential construction in this State shall include passive radon resistant construction.
MYTH: My neighbor’s radon test results were well below the state standard so I should be fine too.
FACT: Never rely on your neighbor’s radon results as your own. Even identical homes in the same development, next door to each other, built at the same time by the same builder can be much higher or lower than your house. There can even be a huge difference from one side of a condo or attached town home to the other.
MYTH: My reading was just below the IEMA/EPA action level, so I’m safe.
FACT: There is no such thing as a safe level of radon exposure. Just like there is no safe amount of cigarettes to smoke in a day. Therefore, you want to reduce your exposure to radon by reducing the radon level in your home as much as possible.
MYTH: “Everything causes cancer”, so why bother?
FACT: Not everything causes cancer. But 12% of all cancer deaths have been linked to radon and over 21,000 Americans die from radon every year. Your goal should be to reduce your exposure to cancer causing properties whenever necessary. For a nominal cost, you can test for radon and have a mitigation system installed if needed.