Radon Awareness Act
A properly crafted Radon Awareness Bill can protect the general public from deadly radon gas while keeping the implementation costs to a minimum. Below are the recommended elements of an effective Radon Awareness Act.*
Disclosure and Radon Awareness
Many people purchase a home without knowing about radon or if high levels of radon exist in the home. A homebuyer or renter needs complete information about radon in order to make an informed decision. Where a testing requirement is not feasible, required disclosure of property-specific radon information and provi¬sion of radon awareness will ensure that all prospective buyers and renters have a minimal knowledge base to protect their families. Since their inception five or more years ago, radon awareness policies in two states (IL, MN) have increased risk reduction without impeding home sales.
Elements of a disclosure/awareness law include:
Disclosure. Prior to the sale or rental of a residential property, the property owner shall disclose in writing to the buyer or renter any knowledge of radon gas such as:
• Whether radon testing has occurred and current records pertaining to radon concentrations
• A description of any radon concentrations, mitigation, or remediation
• Information regarding the radon mitigation system, including system description and documenta¬tion, if such system has been installed in the dwelling
Radon Awareness. The property owner shall provide a radon warning statement (sample below) and other information about the risks of radon to the prospective buyer or renter.
Transaction Types. The disclosure requirements shall apply to the transfer of any interest in residential real estate, whether by sale, exchange, deed, contract for deed, lease, lease with an option to purchase, or any other option.
Real Estate Agent. The property owner may convey the disclosure and radon awareness information through a real estate agent representing or assisting the prospective buyer or renter so long as the real estate agent provides a copy to the prospective buyer.
SAMPLE RADON WARNING STATEMENT
The (title of department or commissioner) of (state) strongly recommends that ALL homebuyers have an indoor radon test performed prior to purchase or tak¬ing occupancy, and recommends having the radon levels mitigated if elevated radon concentrations are found. Elevated radon concentrations can easily be reduced by a qualified, certified, or licensed, if applicable, radon mitigator.
Every buyer of any interest in residential real property is notified that the property may present exposure to dangerous levels of indoor radon gas that may place the occupants at risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer. Radon, a Class A human carcinogen, is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause overall. The seller of any interest in residential real property is required to provide the buyer with any information on radon test results of the dwelling.
A Success Story: Illinois Radon Awareness Act
The Illinois’ version relies on simple notification of the dangers of radon and the value of testing during the real estate transfer process. The testing and mitigation decisions remain voluntary, and the Act has had no discernible negative effects on the overall rate of real estate transactions and no cost to taxpayers.
The Act became effective January 1, 2008. In the first year, radon testing and mitigation increased substantially while real estate transactions decreased.
• 29% increase in the number of radon measurements.
• 25% of all real estate transactions included a radon measurement.
• 26% increase in the number of radon mitigations
In subsequent years, radon testing and mitigation levels in Illinois have remained at increased levels.
The benefits of this legislation?
• More testing.
• More awareness.
• Fewer people living with dangerous levels of radon.
To read the Illinois Radon Awareness act, go to
Minnesota: Another Success Story
Minnesota passed a Radon Awareness Act in 2015, resulting in a 400% increase in radon mitigations. To read the Minnesota legislation, go to
CanSAR members have provided support through testimony and publicity that significantly contributed to the success of radon awareness legislation in Illinois and Minnesota and other legislation in Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon and Kansas. Contact us to learn what you can do in your state.
New Construction Codes
Approximately 10 million homes throughout the United States have indoor radon levels exceeding the EPA Action Level of 4.0 pCi/l. Even at today’s lower annual rates of new home building, we continue to build more new homes with elevated radon levels than the total number of homes (new and existing) than we fix each year. The only way we will get on top of the growing radon-induced lung cancer rate is to stop building homes with radon levels above the EPA Action Level. Easy, inexpensive control measures that can reduce indoor radon levels can be built in during new home construction.
Simple code changes are the first step in the battle to control radon in new homes. Minnesota has taken steps to require building in radon reducing features in all new homes built in their state. Knowing that these steps do not go far enough to assure reduced radon levels, the Minnesota Department of Health has created a voluntary Gold Standard program to encourage builders to install complete (with radon fan) systems which will assure positive control of radon levels.
Helpful Legislation Links
http://www.eli.org/sites/default/files/docs/2016_radon_database.pdf – The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) tracks all of the new (and existing) laws governing radon. A free downloadable copy of radon laws as of February 2016 is available on their website.
http://www.eli.org/sites/default/files/eli-pubs/d22_05.pdf - ELI issued in 2012 a report titled Radon in Homes: Strengthening State Policy to Reduce Risk and Save Lives, which is also downloadable