Press Releases

Chemical Vapor Intrusion Expert Joins Protect Environmental to Lead Products Team

With a diverse background in scientific academia, manufacturing, and the environmental industry, Dr. Chris Bonniwell to head product portfolio focused on radon and chemical vapor intrusion management

Louisville, KY, March 10, 2020 – Protect Environmental announced today the addition of Chris Bonniwell, Ph.D. as Director of Products. Dr. Bonniwell joins Protect Environmental after approximately 10 years in the environmental consulting industry in Indiana and Wisconsin, which were preceded by four years as an environmental regulator at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and seven years managing an industrial manufacturing company in Wisconsin. During his tenure as an environmental regulator and consultant, Dr. Bonniwell provided technical oversight to hundreds of projects in the assessment and remediation of environmental impacts from metals, petroleum compounds, PCBs, and chlorinated solvents. Dr. Bonniwell is a licensed professional geologist in Wisconsin and Indiana, with a consulting career heavily focused on projects with complex chemical vapor intrusion issues, a field in which he is considered a subject matter expert.

As the Director of Products, Dr. Bonniwell will be responsible for managing the product portfolio of the company, including the development, production, and marketing of products for use in the assessment, mitigation, and ongoing management of radon and chemical vapor intrusion contaminated properties. These products include the Vapor Sentinel Remote Environmental Monitoring System, which was awarded patent protection in January of 2020 (press release). The addition of Dr. Bonniwell will include the establishment of an office in the Greater Milwaukee area (Cedarburg) to bolster the company’s presence in the upper Midwest.

“Having firsthand experience with the technical expertise and cost effectiveness Protect Environmental delivers to its clients, I am excited to be joining the team,” Dr. Bonniwell said. “I look forward to working to deliver products and solutions that directly impact the health and well-being of so many,” he added.

“Attracting someone with the background in scientific academia, manufacturing, and environmental consulting Dr. Bonniwell possesses is a real coup for our company,” said Kyle Hoylman, Managing Partner of Protect Environmental. “Chris is widely regarded in the industry as an expert in chemical vapor intrusion, which makes him a natural fit to champion our products portfolio,” Hoylman added.

About Protect Environmental

Protect Environmental is a leader in the environmental consulting and construction industry, focusing on radon and chemical vapor intrusion management. With a proven track record spanning 15 years and more than 5,900 completed projects across the country, the company provides expert service from its trusted professionals to provide peace of mind protection to property owners seeking efficient and effective management of environmental risks and liabilities. For more information, call 502-410-5000 or click on to


Radon and the Symptoms of Radon Gas Poisoning

Many parts of the country are at high risk for exposure to radon. In Kentucky and Southern Indiana, almost 50% of all buildings contain radon concentrations above the US EPA action level of 4.0 pCi/L. This risk is even higher in Louisville and Lexington, where the percentage of buildings with a radon problem can exceed 65% in certain areas! So, what is radon gas and why should you care?

What is radon gas?

Radon is a naturally occurring, cancer-causing, radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell, or taste. The gas derives from the breakdown of uranium and seeps up through the ground, diffusing into the air. In a few areas of the country, radon is contained in ground water, where it off-gasses into the air when the water is used. Radon gas usually exists in relatively low concentrations in outdoor air, averaging 0.4 pCi/L. However, when radon intrudes into buildings and becomes trapped in higher concentrations, significant health risks arise.

According to the US EPA, exposure to radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers (second overall to smoking) and is responsible for more than 21,000 annual deaths in the United States. Read on for more about the health risks associated with radon gas and how to protect you and your loved ones from this silent killer.

Understand your risk of radon exposure and radon gas poisoning.

How are you exposed to radon gas?

Most commonly, radon intrudes into buildings through gaps, cracks, and other pathways. In a small percentage of buildings, the gas can also be released from a private water source or emanate from building materials. Radon concentrations can also be higher in buildings that are more energy efficient – well-insulated, tightly-sealed buildings decrease the number of air changes per hour, which can increase exposure to radon.

Hazardous concentrations of radon can be found in all buildings, such as your home, your place of work, or even the school your children attend. According to the US EPA, about 1 in 15 buildings contain hazardous concentrations of radon gas. However, in some parts of our country, 50% or more of buildings have a radon problem!  

How Radon Enters Your Home.

How does radon gas cause lung cancer?

Radon gas decays quickly, releasing tiny radioactive particles. When these particles are inhaled, they can damage the cells that line your lungs. Long-term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer. If you smoke, your risk is even greater. An increased risk of leukemia associated with radon exposure in adults and children has also been suggested.

Due to lung shape and size differences, children have higher estimated radiation doses than adults. Children also have breathing rates faster than those of adults. Risk of lung cancer in children resulting from exposure to radon may be almost two times greater than the risk to adults exposed to the same amount of radon. Sadly, an estimated 70,000 classrooms contain hazardous radon concentrations because most schools and childcare facilities aren’t required to test for radon gas.

Radon can be found at elevated levels in the air you breathe. Radon is a radioactive gas that damages the tissue in your lungs. Damaged lung tissue can mutate and develop into lung cancer.

What are the symptoms of radon gas poisoning?

Unlike with other gases like carbon monoxide, symptoms of radon poisoning won’t show up right away. Exposure to radon gas is chronic, meaning health problems from exposure, such as lung cancer, show up after many years.

Early signs of lung cancer may include a nagging cough, shortness of breath, or wheezing. Coughing up blood or chest pain, as well as loss of appetite, weight loss, and fatigue are other symptoms association with lung cancer.

What do I do if I have radon gas poisoning symptoms?

Specific medical testing to determine if you have been exposed to hazardous concentrations of radon gas don’t exist. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of lung  cancer, talk with your doctor about whether you should be tested to check for lung cancer. If you smoke – stop!

How can I protect myself and my family from radon gas?

Testing where you live or work is easy and cost-effective. If you have children attending school, request the building where they learn be tested. If you find you have a radon problem, take steps to have the building mitigated to control your exposure to radon gas.

Ensure that all testing and mitigation is done by a qualified professional using the national consensus standards. Better yet, let the professionals at Protect Environmental provide you with peace of mind protection in knowing that you and your family are safe from the silent killer – radon gas.

A Protect Professional comes to your home and conducts a Radon test.
We evaluate your test results and work with you to develop the best course of action for YOUR home. The EPA recommends mitigation when radon levels are at 4.0 pCi/L or higher.
If you choose to mitigate, a Protect Professional comes to your home to install the radon mitigation system. Once the system is installed, we test again to ensure that the mitigation system is working properly to reduce the radon levels in your home.

How can I protect myself and my family from radon gas?

Exposure to radon gas presents a significant health concern. The only way to know if you and your family are at risk is to test the buildings where you live, work, or learn. Testing is easy and cost-effective. If you have a radon problem, affordable options for mitigating your exposure exist. You should always use a qualified professional for testing and mitigation.