Go Back

Residents in Elgin worried about elevated radon gas levels

Date Published: 12/13/2019 [Source]

Some residents of Elgin Manor Apartments in Elgin said they have been worried for nearly two months about high levels of radon gas in their apartments.

Residents of 11 units on the first floor of the 100-unit building at 1350 Fleetwood Drive were informed that elevated levels of radon were found after testing was done in October. The nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing owns the building and wants to renovate it, which is why the testing was done, a spokesman said.

Among those affected is Cathy Hutson, who said she suffers from bronchial asthma, Crohn's disease and ongoing pneumonia, and worries that being exposed to radon is making her sicker.

"I am very concerned about it," she said.

Radon -- colorless, odorless and tasteless -- is a radioactive gas produced during the natural decay of uranium found in rock and soil. High levels of radon have been found in the soil in central and northern Illinois, according to a fact sheet by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after smoking. About 21,000 people die each year from radon-induced lung cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Illinois law requires property buyers to be informed about indoor radon exposure and get the results of radon testing. But the law doesn't require properties to be tested or for mitigation to be conducted if there are high levels of radon.

Eleven units showed a reading of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher, Hervis said. That's the level at which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends taking action.

Resident James Trembley, who lives on the third floor, said some of the upper-level units also were tested as a precaution. Still, management should have notified all residents, not just those affected, about the problem, Trembley said.