Illinois Specific Radon Information: Radon in Illinois
What is Radon?
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas produced by the natural decay of uranium and radium in the soil. Exposure to elevated radon levels increases the risk of developing lung cancer. The EPA estimates that 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States are due to radon, making it the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recommends that indoor levels of radon remain below 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) to decrease the risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer.
What is the risk in Illinois?
- The average Illinois indoor air radon concentration is 4.4 pCi/L, ABOVE THE USEPA ACTION LEVEL!
- Assuming the Illinois average of 4.4 pCi/L, radon accounts for 67% of an Illinoisan's annual radiation exposure, by far the single greatest source of radiation exposure to the general public.
- The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the USEPA estimate that as many as 1,160 Illinois citizens are at risk of developing radon related lung cancer each year.
- Nationally, more deaths are caused by radon induced lung cancer than the top five causes of accidental home injury deaths combined (falls, poisoning, fires, choking, drowning).
- The USEPA estimates that 1 in 15 houses in the USA contain elevated levels of radon.
How can you test your home for radon?
Do-It-Yourself radon test kits are low cost and easy to perform. Short-term test kits lasting 3-7 days or long term test kits lasting 1-12 months can be obtained from the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest by clicking on this link or by calling 1-800-788-5864. When testing, be sure to follow directions on placement and time period closely and contact the Illinois Radon Program or company that produced the kit with any questions regarding the testing procedure or interpreting the results.
If you do not want to perform the testing yourself, a list of Illinois licensed radon measurement professionals that service your county can be found here. Just select your county from the dropdown menu or on the picture and a list of measurement professionals will be on the left hand side below the picture of Illinois.
NOTE: must use Internet Explorer web browser for list to work!
How do you fix a radon problem?
If tests show that your homes radon levels are above 4.0pCi/L it is suggested that you get a radon mitigation system installed. The most common and effective type of mitigation system is a vent pipe and fan system that draws air from underneath the foundation of the house and disposes of it outside. This radon mitigation system removes radon from under the foundation and vents it above the roof line of the house so that it does not enter the home.
A list of Illinois licensed radon mitigation professionals that provide services in your county can be found here. Just select your county from the dropdown menu or on the picture and a list of mitigation professionals will be on the right hand side below the picture of Illinois.
NOTE: must use Internet Explorer web browser for list to work!
The cost of a radon mitigation system can range between $800 and $2,500 (average $1,200) dependent upon characteristics of the building and the choice of radon reduction method.
How do you become licensed for radon services in Illinois?
To perform radon related services (measurement or mitigation) in the state of Illinois, you MUST be licensed by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Radon Program (IEMA). Becoming licensed by IEMA is a 3 step process:
- The Course.
Before they can move on to any other steps, all potential licensee's in the state of Illinois must pass an IEMA approved initial 16 hour course covering basic radon principles, radon detection devices, and protocols. The ALAIL offers one of these courses approved by IEMA for both Radon Measurement and Radon Mitigation. Individuals interested in taking this initial step to getting a radon license in Illinois can access these courses by clicking here. Once a potential licensee passes an initial radon course, they will be presented with a certificate of completion. With this certificate of completion, they can then move on to step 2.
- The Test.
In order to apply for a license, potential licensee's must demonstrate to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency that, through the course, they have developed adequate knowledge in the devices, protocols, and procedures they must comply with in accordance to 32 Illinois Administrative Code Part 422. This is demonstrated through a passing grade (70/ 100) on the Illinois Radon Measurement Licensing Exam or Illinois Radon Mitigation Licensing Exam. An application for the exam is available through the IEMA website by clicking here. The test is available in the Springfield, IL office by appointment (call 1-800-325-1245) or in the Des Plaines office every other month. Contact IEMA at the above 1-800 number with any questions regarding the licensing tests.
- The Application.
Once you receive a passing grade on the licensing exam, you are then eligible to apply for your Illinois Radon License. License application is available through the IEMA website by clicking here. The first thing you must do is decide whether you would like to become a licensed radon professional or licensed radon technician. Professionals are individuals who are going to operate/ run their own individual radon business and technicians are individuals who work for someone else's business. Detailed list of what needs to be included with each type of application are as follows:
- Technician License. Completed application form & payment of the one-time $125.00 application processing fee.
- Professional License. Completed application form, payment of the one-time $125.00 application processing fee, and completed Quality Assurance Program and Standard Operating Procedures (QAP-SOP) document. Guidance on how to write the QAP-SOP is available on the IEMA website by clicking here.
How can I get more information or talk to someone?
- Additional information can be found in the Additional Resources and Publications section.
- You can contact a representative from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Radon Program by calling 1-800-325-1245.
- You can contact the American Lung Association by calling 1-800-788-5864.