Last month, the Governor signed into law a bill passed by the General Assembly concerning the exposure of children in child care programs to radon.
What is radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is invisible, odorless, and tasteless and can only be detected through testing. Radon seeps from soil into buildings through cracks in the foundation, sump pits, and other openings in contact with the ground.
Radon is a known human carcinogen. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the
second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Some scientific studies of radon exposure
indicate that children may be more sensitive to radon. This may be due to their higher respiration
rate and their rapidly dividing cells, which may be more vulnerable to radiation
What does the law require of child care providers?
The law changes the licensing standards for child care centers, homes and group homes by requiring a radon test every 3 years.
- Effective January 1, 2013,
licensed day care centers, licensed day care homes, and licensed group day care
homes shall have the facility tested for radon at least once every 3 years.
- Effective January 1, 2014,
as part of an initial application or renewal application of a license for
day care centers, day care homes, and group day care homes, the
Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) shall require proof the facility has
been tested within the last 3 years for radon according to rules established by
the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
- The report of the most
current radon measurement shall be posted in the facility next to the license
issued by the Department. Copies of the report shall be provided to parents or
guardians upon request.
- Included with the report shall be the following statement:
"Every parent or guardian is
notified that this facility has performed radon measurements to ensure the
health and safety of the occupants. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency
(IEMA) recommends that all residential homes be tested and that corrective
actions be taken at levels equal to or greater than 4.0 pCi/L. Radon is a
Class A human carcinogen, the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and
the second leading cause of lung cancer overall. For additional information
about this facility contact the licensee and for additional information
regarding radon contact the IEMA Radon Program at 800-325-1245 or on the
What is the cost of radon testing?
care centers will likely be required to use an IEMA licensed radon tester. The cost
associated with having the licensed radon tester come out to test the facility depends on the size of the facility (ranging anywhere from $100 to several
care homes may incur very little cost because the IEMA rules may allow them to
use a home test kit (approximately $20).
high radon levels are found, the law does not require the provider/program to
do anything about it. This law is
simply a way to get people to test for the presence of radon.
What are the next steps?
DCFS must propose rules related to this change to the licensing standards. The proposed rules will be available for a 45-day public comment period. As of yet, we have not seen the proposed rules but we will send a follow-up alert once they become available. Anyone can comment on the proposed rules and all comment letters received must be reviewed by DCFS and the state's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. After this point, a final rule will be passed and the change will become effective. This is expected to become effective by January 1, 2013, as stated in the law.
If you have questions, please contact Kate Ritter, Senior Policy Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (773) 697-6139.