An invisible killer in your basement: Radon

radon testingThere could be an invisible killer lurking in your basement, undetectable to all five senses. So what is this killer?

NEWS3 talked to environmental health director at the McDonough County Health Department Chris Adams.

“Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally in the soil,” says Adams. “And it is harmful to humans because it causes lung cancer.”

Macomb resident Phil Weiss let us test his basement for the deadly gas. We asked him if he has ever had his home tested for radon.

“The house, I don’t believe was tested. It may have before we purchased it, but to my knowledge, it’s never been tested.”

Testing a home for radon is a very simple and inexpensive process.

We picked up this kit for six dollars at the McDonough County Health Department.

First, we unpackaged the kit, which contained a sponge, the testing envelope and instructions.

You will need to find an area in the home where the airflow is unobstructed and at least 3-6 inches off the ground.

Then, you must fill out the information on the test envelope which includes, the date and time you started the test, name, address, average temperature of the area being tested, the floor that is being tested, if there is a crawl in the vicinity and the end date and time of the testing.

We decided to hang our test on their ceiling fan cord in the middle of the room, that way we could get a steady airflow for accurate test results. They said they would not turn on the fan on during the testing time. You can hang the test kit for three to seven days.

Once the test is complete, remove the sponge screen and mail the test envelope. Adams says the turn around time is fairly quick.

“About two weeks,” says Adams.  “You can also check the status sooner by using your canister number. You can go online and check the status by using your canister number and it will tell you where it’s at and if the lab has received it or if they’ve already tested. They’ll also send you a hard copy of your test results, as well.”

We are sending out the test to the laboratory and we should have the results in a few weeks and we will bring those to you on NEWS3.

WATCH: An invisible killer in your basement: Radon