Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 4, 2013

New radon test law could cost day cares

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM —     A new Illinois law intended to make day cares safer could cost local businesses hundreds of dollars.

    The new law, which took effect Tuesday, will require licensed day care centers and day care homes to show proof that they have been tested for radon and starting in 2014. Businesses will need to prove the test has been done within the last three years as part of their license renewal process.

    In a release, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Jonathon Monken said the new law should help parents keep their children safe.

    “Parents want to know their children in day care are as safe as possible throughout the day,” he said. “This new law will give them information about radon levels in the day care and hopefully will inspire them to also test their own homes if they haven’t already done so.”

     The law, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn in August, will require non-residential day care centers to hire a radon measuring professional and  home day cares to purchase a residential test kit or hire a professional to complete the test. High levels of radon in a residence, as well as prolonged exposure, can increase the chances of lung cancer in non-smokers.

    Local day care providers said the new law and the threat of radon is something they may have to familiarize themselves with.

    “I’ve read a lot about it,” said Carla Holtz, director of Little Lamb Child Learning Center. “It sounds very expensive. It sounds like owners and directors are going to have to eat the bottom line.”

    Day cares can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $300 for a professional to check the premises, depending on the number of floors to the facility. One local professional said the process is relatively pain-free for businesses.

    “Typically what they’re going to do is some kind of two-day short term tests, seeing what the average of the radon is in those days,” said Frank Nasser, owner of Central Illinois Home Inspection in Teutopolis. “You can still be open as long as you don’t have windows or doors open all day.”

    Shelli French, director of the Effingham Child Development Center, said future costs could severely impact the organization.

    “For one thing, cost, being a non-profit, is always a concern,” she said. “We’re going to look for any grants we can write in for. We already have quite a few routine tests that have to be done at the center. We already have tests that are done here that we have budgeted for but this is just another one that has to be on the list. This is something we just have to do.”