www.illinois.gov

Pat Quinn, Governor

State Links Skip to Content Skip to State Links

 Government
 Business
 Employment
 Education
 Health & Safety
 Family & Home
 Travel & Recreation
 About Illinois
 Illinois.gov

Stay Informed

Your Government


[Search Tips]

Illinois Flag Honors

Inspector General


 IGNN: State/All Press Release

ILLINOIS NEWS
The State of Illinois News page provides access to the Illinois Government News Network and all state press releases.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2011

IEMA Kicks Off School Screening Program during Radon Action Month
$38,000 grant will help 50 school districts test buildings for radon

SPRINGFIELD – A $38,000 grant recently awarded to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will be used to help 50 Illinois school districts screen school buildings for the radioactive gas radon.  IEMA announced the screening program today as it kicked off a statewide observance of Radon Action Month during January.

“While thousands of homes in Illinois already have been tested for radon, very few school buildings have been screened,” said IEMA Interim Director Joe Klinger.  “Thanks to this grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we’re able to partner with the American Lung Association of Illinois to help 50 school districts test their buildings.”

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 radon screening program announced today will help participating schools comply with recommendations contained in Public Act 96-0417, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2010.  The law, sponsored by state Rep. Karen May (D-Highland Park), encourages school districts to test school buildings for radon every five years. 

To reduce the cost to school districts for the radon tests, the law allows district employees to complete an online training course approved by IEMA in order to perform screening measurements in their district school buildings.  By using a trained school district employee to conduct the tests, districts won’t have the expense of hiring a licensed radon measurement contractor.

"This is such an important issue for the health of our citizens,” said Rep. May.  “I am so pleased we will be able to start to cover some of the costs of screening our schools, where children, teachers and staff spend several hours each day."

Under the school screening program, IEMA and the American Lung Association of Illinois (ALAIL) will work with participating school districts on development of a quality assurance project plan and a final report, as well as providing guidance for placement of measurement devices in one elementary school building in each district.

“The ALAIL is pleased to partner with IEMA and Illinois school districts in testing their buildings for radon gas,” said American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest CEO, Harold Wimmer. “Through this partnership, we can help determine if radon is a concern in schools.”

In addition to the USEPA grant, IEMA recently acquired free radon measurement equipment from the State of Michigan.  This will enable the agency to loan measurement devices to school districts to further reduce the costs of the screening measurements.

The USEPA has established 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) as the action level for radon.  It is estimated that the risk of developing lung cancer at that level is about seven lung cancer deaths per 1,000 persons.  The USEPA and IEMA recommend taking steps to reduce radon levels if test results indicate levels of 4.0 pCi/L or above.

More information about radon is available at IEMA’s radon website at www.radon.illinois.gov.



###

News Categories

 State/All
 Governor's Office
 Lt. Governor's Office
 Agriculture
 Budget/Fiscal
 Business
 Children/Families
 Culture
 Disabilities
 Economic Development
 Education
 Environment
 Flag Honors
 Health/Human Services
 History
 Infrastructure
 Opportunity Returns
 Recovery
 Safety/Security
 Technology
 Tourism/Recreation
 Transportation
 Workforce/Jobs

News Resources

 Search the News
 IIS Radio News
 RSS News Feeds
 e-News Subscriptions
 Communications Office
 Privacy Statement

Features

Sign up for an e-news subscription
Copyright © 2014 State of Illinois Site Map | Illinois Privacy Info | Kids Privacy | Web Accessibility | Contact Us