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New state code aims to reduce radon

Beginning June 1, all new houses built in Minnesota will be required to include features designed to resist or reduce the infiltration of radon gas.

State health officials say the change is an important step toward reducing Minnesotans' potential exposure to a cancer-causing gas, but more can be done to reduce radon levels in homes, with testing as the essential first step.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

More than 21,000 deaths are attributed to radon each year in the U.S.

Radon is an odorless, tasteless gas that forms from the decay of naturally occurring uranium found in rock and soil throughout Minnesota.

The primary radon exposure for most people is their home. Radon gets into homes through structural cracks and gaps.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) estimates that one in three homes in Minnesota have levels of radon gas that pose a large health risk over years of exposure.

"The new requirements will help reduce new homeowners' potential exposure to radon," said Joshua Miller, an environmental health specialist with MDH.. "However, there is more that homeowners need to do to reduce their exposure."