Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins sponsored two pieces of legislation aimed at protecting the public from exposure to radon in homes and daycare facilities. House Bill 4665 was approved by overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate and awaits the governor’s signature; HB 4606 has passed the House and will soon be called for a vote in the Senate. 

“Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and keeping radon levels low in homes and facilities must be a statewide priority,” Sen. Collins said. “The measures approved today move Illinois in the direction of safer homes and safer environments for our youngest children.”

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) estimates that radon levels in 36 percent of houses – more than one-third – are unacceptably high. Over 1,000 Illinois residents each year are at risk for lung cancer caused by radon because of prolonged exposure to the gas. Testing is the only way to determine if radon levels in a building are harmful.

“Making new homes radon-resistant and testing existing buildings for radon are relatively inexpensive measures, but taking steps to prevent and address radon build-up is priceless to those at risk,” said Sen. Collins, chief sponsor of the measure requiring radon-resistant construction. “Parents shouldn’t have to worry when they drop their children off at daycare that the building itself is dangerous to their health. It is high time to eliminate this common and preventable risk factor.”

HB 4665 requires a task force to recommend standards for radon-resistant construction by January 1, 2013. All new residential construction in Illinois must include passive radon-resistant construction techniques. In most cases, this would involve a pipe running from the foundation to the outdoors to vent radon from the structure. Preventing radon from building up inside a new home is cheaper, safer, and less unsightly than mitigation done after a high radon level has been found inside an existing building.

HB 4606, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans and co-sponsored by Sen. Collins, will require daycare facilities to test for radon at least once every three years, then post the results for parents to see. In-home daycare providers can purchase a home radon test for under $25; commercial facilities are required to hire a licensed professional when they test for radon, but IEMA officials say they are looking into including daycare providers in an online training program that currently teaches school district facility directors to conduct initial radon tests in schools.

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Chicago Office:
1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

Springfield Office:
M114 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1607

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