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Radon Awareness Act

In 2007, after the death of my husband, Joe, the Illinois Governor signed the Radon Awareness Act into law. It was our 32nd wedding anniversary date. A little history behind this law … When I found out that we had been living with high levels of radon and that it was likely the cause of Joe’s lung cancer since the doctor had told us that radon is a known cause of lung cancer, I immediately got my house fixed and began to educate my legislator, Rep. Dan Reitz, after I had done enormous research of scientific studies and medical sites. My good friend, Dallas Jones a member of American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologies (AARST), drafted a bill for radon using the lead base paint act as a model. The bill that was called and passed the house and senate unanimously was the IL Radon Awareness Act. I devoted a full year (2006-2007) of my life to educating the IL legislators and testifying about the danger of living with elevated levels of radon, so I am very proud that this was the first Radon Awareness Act, and I am so proud of my representative and the IL Radon Program. It is my prayer that other states will enact this law and that it will become a federal law. Results in IL and MN (which duplicated the law) indicate the number of homes being tested at the point of sale has jumped greatly, and people are mitigating their homes to provide a healthy home and taking active steps to prevent radon-induced lung cancer – the leading environmental cause of cancer mortality.

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Effects of the Radon Awareness Act in Illinois and Minnesota

In Illinois radon testing at the point of sale has increased from 8% to 55% since the enactment of the IL Radon Awareness Act in January 2008.

The IL Act requires sellers to provide buyers with: disclosure of know elevated radon levels in the home; a state-developed pamphlet on radon testing; and a general warning statement recommending radon testing prior to all home purchases. If the information is not disclosed to a buyer before his offer, the landlord must mitigate the hazard, disclose the hazard to the buyer, and allow the buyer to amend his offer.

The number of Minnesota families taking action to reduce levels of cancer-causing radon gas in their homes has more than doubled in the two years since a new state law took effect in 2014. Health officials say the increase means fewer families will experience lung cancer and other negative health impacts of radon exposure in the yars ahead.

The law that took effect January 1, 2014, requires that more detailed information be provided to buyers about radon during Minnesota home sales. According to data collected by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), most of the additional radon mitigation work in homes since enactment of the law occurred as part of real estate transactions. There were 3,392 homes mitigated for radon during the first nine months of 2015. For the same period in 2014, 2.389 homes were mitigated. In comparison, 1,491 homes had radon mitigation work in 2013 and 1,067 homes had the mitigation work in 2012.

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