Depending on how closely you’ve ever read through your Chicago lease, you may or may not have seen the mention of something called ‘radon.’ However unusual a substance, it is a potential hazard that all renters and homeowners should know the basics about—which is exactly why we’re breaking it down for you in layman’s terms.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can be found in the ground, soil or water. It’s invisible, odorless and tasteless, making it undetectable by human senses.
How is Radon Harmful?
Radon itself is not overtly dangerous, but as it decays, the gas can become radioactive. When inhaled, radon can then cause serious health problems and even lead to lung cancer, making it a carcinogen.
How Does Radon Get into a Home?
Radon can seep into a structure through various ways. Whether from cracks in the foundation, improperly sealed windows or other structural issues, the gas gets trapped inside a home and levels will continue to increase if not properly ventilated.
How Can You Detect It?
Radon levels are considered a major risk only when above 4 pCi/L. Checking for radon levels can be done easily by a licensed property inspector.
When Does It Need to be Disclosed?
Because of the rate at which the gas rises, units on the third floor or higher of an apartment building are not required to disclose the presence of radon. However, any units below the third floor should be checked for radon and any presence of the gas must be disclosed to a prospective tenant or potential buyer in a real estate transaction in the state of Illinois.
How Does One Deal with Radon?
To learn more about radon, how to detect it and how to take care of it, visit the Environmental Protection Agency (http://www2.epa.gov/radon) for more information.