MT. VERNON, IL (KFVS) - January is National Radon Action Month and the Environmental Protection Agency is urging citizens to have their homes tested for the deadly gas.
Radon can't be seen, tasted or smelled but is responsible for the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the EPA.
The EPA estimates that 21,000 people die each year because of radon-caused lung cancer in the U.S.
The only way to test for radon is by calling a professional or buying a do-it-yourself radon test kit.
Radon is a deadly radioactive gas formed by the natural breakdown of the element uranium.
The EPA estimates that one in every 15 homes has dangerous amounts of radon.
David Parkhill, a radon measurement expert with Little Egypt Radon and Mold Testing in Mount Vernon, Illinois, said that one in three southern Illinois homes test high for radon.
"Every home, every building has some. You just don't know what level until what time you test," Parkhill said.
Hiring a professional to test for radon can cost around $200.
Testing yourself can cost around $30 and you'll need to mail in the kit to a lab for the results.
If your home tests high for radon, you may need to buy a radon reduction system.
It costs roughly $1,500 to have a radon reduction system installed.
Many new homes already have those system installed.