The American Lung Association and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) do a nice job of explaining what radon is and why we should be concerned about it in our homes. The EPA's estimate that Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers is reason enough to seriously consider testing your new home.
Early in my practice, radon testing seemed limited to the collar counties where radon levels averaged higher than the EPA acceptable 4pCi/L.. However, IEMA notes that elevated levels of radon have been found throughout the state of Illinois, including Cook County. It is their recommendation that ALL Homes Should Be Tested regardless of geographic location. The current trend seems to follow this advice.
Both the Illinois Radon Awareness Act as well as the Illinois Real Property Disclosure Act each requires sellers to provide buyers with any information they have about indoor radon exposure. The buyer, seller and realtor must all sign a disclosure agreement stating that all parties understand the dangers of radon and their obligations under Illinois law.
Luckily, Radon can be mitigated easily and is relatively cost-effective. The links on this page as well as discussions with your real estate professionals will help you make an educated decision on this important health issue.