IEMA offers guide to help renters better understand radon hazards | Health
(KFVS) - The Illinois Emergency Management Agency's radon program is offering guidance to help renters better understand radon hazards and their rights under the law.
The program is under a new law to go into effect Jan. 1 to help people who rent apartments, condominiums or houses access information about radon levels in their home.
“About one-third of all housing in Illinois is rented,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “This new law will help renters find out if their landlords have already tested for radon and, if so, what levels were detected. For units where no testing has been done, we hope more renters will be proactive and get their homes tested. Radon is one health risk that can be easily reduced. Testing your home is the important first step.”
The Public Act 97-0021 was approved by the Illinois General Assembly this spring and signed by Gov. Quinn on June 28. It requires owners of rental units to tell renters in writing before a lease is signed if the rental space has been tested for radon and that a radon hazard may exist.
According to the IEMA, if the rental unit hasn't been tested, a renter can conduct a do-it-yourself radon test or ask the owner to test by hiring a licensed radon contractor. They say if a renter conducts a radon test in the rental unit and results show high radon levels, the renter should inform the building owner in writing.
IEMA recommends that all rental units below the third floor be tested for radon.
IEMA says radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that comes from the radioactive decay of naturally occurring uranium in the soil. They say radon is a second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., and the leading cause among non-smokers. IEMA says it's estimated that nearly 1,200 radon-related lung cancer deaths occur each year in Illinois.
IEMA has developed a brochure, "Radon Guide for Tenants," to provide renters with more information about radon and how they can learn more about the levels of radon in their homes. The guide and additional information about radon hazards, testing and lists of licensed radon measurement and mitigation contractors can be found at www.radon.Illinois.gov. Information is also available by calling 217-782-1325.
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