As part of National Radon Action Month during January, the Kane County Health Department wants parents of children in day care to know they will be better informed about levels of radon in their child’s facility under a new state law that took effect Jan. 1, 2013.
Licensed day care centers and day care homes in Illinois are now required to test for the radioactive gas. Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, day care centers will need to show proof the facility has been tested for radon within the last three years as part of the initial application or license renewal process.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that comes from the radioactive decay of naturally occurring uranium in the soil. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., and the leading cause among non-smokers. It’s estimated that nearly 1,200 radon-related lung cancer deaths occur each year in Illinois.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has established 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) as the action level for radon.
Under the law, which was signed by Gov. Pat Quinn on Aug. 17, 2012, non-residential day care centers are required to hire an IEMA-licensed radon measurement professional to test the facility. Home day care centers may purchase a home test kit and conduct the test themselves or hire a licensed contractor to perform the test.
Day care facilities are required to post the most current radon measurement results next to the licenses issued by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and provide copies of the report to parents or guardians upon request.
The law does not require day care facilities to reduce radon levels if they exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s action level of 4.0 pCi/L. IEMA recommends radon reduction actions be taken if radon levels are above 4.0 pCi/L and licenses contractors who install radon mitigation systems.
The Health Department’s Community Health Improvement Plan targets chronic diseases such as cancer and the department recommends that all homes in Kane County be tested for radon. Testing kits are available for $15 from the Kane County Health Department and Kane County Development Office and from most local hardware stores.
A Speakers Bureau has been created to offer free radon presentations to the community. CLICK HERE for our online Radon Presentation Request Form. Contact Terry Roman at 630-264-7653 or at RomanTerry@co.kane.il.us with questions. More information and resources about radon is available on the Health Department’s website at kanehealth.com/radon.htm.
The Kane County Healthy places Coalition is a group of community residents and stakeholders interested in environmental health. You can learn more about the coalition by visiting kanehealth.com/healthy_places.htm.
More information about radon, including lists of IEMA-licensed measurement and mitigation contractors, is available at www.radon.Illinois.gov or by calling the Radon Hotline at 800-325-1245.
SOURCE: Kane County Health Department