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January is Radon Awareness Month and the Cook County Department of Environmental Control reminds you to be aware of the health risks of radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that comes from the radioactive decay of naturally occurring uranium in the soil. It can enter homes and buildings through small cracks in the foundation, sump pumps or soil in crawlspaces. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall in the U.S. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency estimates as many as 1,160 Illinois citizens develop radon-related lung cancer each year and the Surgeon General estimates that radon may cause as many as 21,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.
According to the U.S. EPA, only one in five homeowners have actually tested their homes for radon. The winter months are an especially good time to conduct a home test because radon can build to unhealthy levels during colder weather when windows and doors are kept closed. “Testing for radon is the best way to know if people in your home are at risk from this cancer-causing gas,” EPA Regional Administrator (for Region III) Shawn M. Garvin said in a news release. “All buildings with or without basements should be tested for radon” said Deborah Stone, Director of Cook County Environmental Control.
Take these simple steps:
• Test: The Cook County Department of Environmental Control has radon test kits available for County residents. To order a test kit please email or write the Cook County Department of Environmental Control, 69 W. Washington Suite 1900, Chicago IL, 60602. Please note that these kits are recommended for residential use. For testing schools and commercial spaces, please consult a measurement professional.
• Fix: EPA recommends taking action to fix radon levels at or above 4 picoCuries per Liter (pCi/L) and contacting a qualified radon-reduction contractor. Call (708) 865-6177 if you need a list of licensed radon professionals, or access the listhere.
• Save a Life: 21,000 Americans die from radon related lung cancer each year, but by addressing elevated levels, you can help prevent lung cancer while creating a healthier home and community.
A Message from the President
I believe that Cook County should be a world-class model of sustainability. We are working not only to boost sustainability practices throughout County government, but also to join forces with local governments, nonprofits and business, to accomplish more than we could separately in making each of Cook County’s communities sustainable. To further this work, I appointed Deborah Stone as the County’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, and as Director of the Department of Environmental Control. I also recognize that Cook County needs to share ideas and collaborate with a diverse group of community leaders and sustainability experts. In March 2012, I appointed the Cook County Sustainability Advisory Council to help lift our vision higher and give us access to best practices. You can meet the Council members and read more about their mission in the “Advisory Council” section of this website. Toni Preckwinkle,Cook County Board President
What is Sustainability?
" Ensuring that there is enough for today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."Deborah StoneChief Sustainability Officer, Cook County Government
Contact UsCook County Chief Sustainability Officer
69 W Washington
Chicago, IL 60602
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