IEMA, American Lung Association Launch Health House - Radon Excellence Program in Savoy

January 27, 2015 
 
Two Champaign builders coordinating with Heyworth radon mitigator
 in program to reduce radon-related lung cancer risks in new homes
 
SPRINGFIELD – A new home in Savoy built with radon-resistant construction techniques and an activated radon mitigation system is the standard officials with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALAIL) hope home builders across the state of Illinois soon will adopt.

IEMA and the ALAIL were in Savoy Wednesday to launch the Radon Excellence – A Health House Program.  Two Champaign builders, Signature Homes and Ironwood Homes, were approved for the pilot program.  The builders partnered with radon mitigation contractor Radon Remedies, Inc., of Heyworth on the project.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that comes from the radioactive decay of naturally occurring uranium in the soil.  It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall.  

Elevated levels of the radioactive gas have been found in all 102 Illinois counties. IEMA estimates nearly 1,200 Illinois citizens die from radon-related lung cancer each year.

Illinois law requires new construction to include installation of a passive radon mitigation system.  The pilot program encourages builders to ramp-up efforts to reduce levels of the cancer-causing gas with installation of an active mitigation system. 

“While passive systems may reduce radon levels in a home below the four picocuries per liter of air standard, there is nothing more effective than an active system for reducing the radon risk as much as possible,” said IEMA Acting Director Joe Klinger. “We’re excited to launch this pilot program in Savoy and look forward to seeing builders across Illinois incorporate these steps into their new home construction projects.” 

“The use of radon resistant construction techniques will greatly reduce the risk of lung cancer among new homeowners,” said Angela Tin, Vice President of Environmental Health for the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest. “We applaud the additional efforts by partners to further reduce risk by activating the installed radon mitigation systems. For this reason, the American Lung Association Health House® program has approved Signature Homes and Ironwood Homes for Radon Excellence.” 

IEMA awarded a $41,000 grant to the ALAIL for the pilot program.  Funding for the grant came from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

While the Radon Excellence program is being piloted in Illinois, IEMA and the ALAIL hope to see it expand nationwide.

For more information about the Radon Excellence Program, visit the ALAIL website at http://www.healthhouse.org.  Additional information about radon, including lists of licensed radon measurement and mitigation contractors, is available on IEMA’s radon webpage at www.radon.illinois.gov​​.