Daycare & Preschool Radon Testing
Radon in Daycares and Preschools
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon is a form of ionizing radiation and a proven carcinogen. Radon Gas has no smell , taste, nor can it be seen.
Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and many other countries. In the U.S. alone it’s responsible for the deaths of over 20,000 Americans every year. The longer you are exposed to radon gas the greater your risk for lung cancer is. That risk grows exponentially when you’ve combined an exposure to radon and tobacco smoke, whether it comes directly, or from secondhand smoke.
Obviously, children at a daycare are not going to be exposed to tobacco smoke, we hope. But if their homes and/or daycare are plagued by elevated levels of radon gas it’s going to mean long-term exposure for them. If they are exposed to radon elsewhere or even later in life, their risk for lung cancer increases. High radon level in daycares and schools could decrease the health of any exposed children over time.
- It is estimated that more than 70,000 U.S. classrooms exhibit elevated, short-term levels of radon gas
- 19.3% or 1 in every 5 schools have at least one classroom with radon level above 4.0pCi/L
- Several schools during an EPA study were found to have levels exceeding 20pCi/L, while others had levels over 100pCi/L
- Most schools in the country don’t bother testing for the presence of radon
Illinois Law regarding radon in Daycares and Preschools
(225 ILCS 10/5.8 new) Sec. 5.8. Radon testing of licensed day care centers, licensed day care homes, and licensed group day care homes.
(a) Effective January 1, 2013, licensed day care centers, licensed day care homes, and licensed group day care homes shall have the facility tested for radon at least once every 3 years pursuant to rules established by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
(b) Effective January 1, 2014, as part of an initial application or application for renewal of a license for day care centers, day care homes, and group day care homes, the Department shall require proof the facility has been tested within the last 3 years for radon pursuant to rules established by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Radon testing procedures for Daycares and Preschools
Which rooms need to be tested? The rooms that are occupied daily by children, parents, teachers, or other staff members. This includes the following spaces:
- Multi-purpose rooms
- Infant rooms
- Toddler rooms
- Dining areas
Any room that has frequent use and is located above a basement or crawl space, or whose walls and floors are in contact with the ground, must be tested for radon.
- Home Daycares If you run a home daycare, you have two options to test for radon. If the daycare resides in a home, you may purchase a “do-it-yourself” home test kit and test, or you may hire a licensed measurement professional to test your home. This would require purchasing enough radon test kits for your space; Go to www.radon.illinois.gov, or local home improvement store.
- Non-residential daycare facilities. If the daycare is not in a residential home, you must hire a licensed measurement professional to test the facility.
- Daycare within schools. If the daycare is licensed under the Illinois School Code, a school district employee may complete an online training course and pass an examination by IEMA to perform measurements in their school district buildings. The school also has the option of hiring a licensed measurement professional. Find more information at www.radon.illinois.gov.
We recommend that a home or a non-residential facility hire a certified radon testing contractor to do the testing for you. Because radon testing is so critical, we recommend having a licensed professional do it for you.
Home and Property Review, Inc., offers radon testing in the Chicagoland area and northwest Indiana. It will give you peace of mind knowing that the testing was accurate, and that your facility and its occupants are safe. All testing should be in accordance with IMEA and EPA guidelines.
What if the test results are above the USEPA’s action level of 4.0 pCi/L? The results of the radon measurement must be posted next to the daycare’s license. The law does not require a daycare to mitigate the radon levels if they are above this level. If you would like to mitigate, please visit www.radon.illinois.gov for a list of licensed mitigation professionals in Illinois.
Home and Property Review, Inc. Testing Procedures
- Consultation and building assessment to explain the process, answer questions and gather data on the building so a plan can be developed. These forms are available on our website.
- If the daycare is part of a larger facility, such as a church, we test only the portion of the building that is dedicated to daycare. In order to do this a variance from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency must be obtained.
- Every facility will have a Quality Assurance Project Plan developed that is specific to that facility.
- All rooms that are commonly occupied by the daycare, and in direct contact with the soil, will be tested simultaneously. This does not include bathrooms, closets, hallways, etc. The state requires a minimum of a 48 hour test.
- Testing will be done using continuous radon monitors. This highly accurate device allows for the evaluation of hourly variations in radon levels, barometric pressure, temperature, humidity and other data that is useful in making an accurate assessment of the radon activity. Severe weather and the operation of mechanical equipment can change the buildings dynamics sometimes leading to misleading results.
- Weather conditions during the test will be monitored and documented to determine if unusual or severe weather may have caused inaccurate results. We may need to test for additional 48 hours.
- If radon levels are high, an additional site visit may be necessary prior to making a final recommendation. This visit may include further evaluations of the building, the HVAC system(s) and other mechanical systems. This may be needed to determine what course of action is needed regarding elevated radon levels.
- A final measurement report and recommendation will be provided.
- A Certificate of Radon Test Completion will be provided to be placed next to daycare license.
- All documents will be e-mailed as PDF files, or a printed (color) copy of the QA plan and measurement report are available upon request.
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